Bluestem Grasses (Andropogon) consist of a variety of grasses that are native to much of the prairie and Great Plains regions of North America. These natives and their specialized cultivars are hardy, adaptable, and incredibly easy to grow warm-season Ornamental Grass!
Blue Stem has thin leaves with a namesake blue color at the base. The flower inflorescences (plumes) of Bluestems are held in 3 elongated clusters from a common point that resembles a turkey foot - hence their nickname Turkeyfoot Grass. Summer brings these purplish-colored seed heads that mature into fluffy furry seeds, that turn white to buff as they mature and remain showy all winter. One of the best characteristics is the orange to red, to purple, or bronze fall color!
There are three primary types of Blue Stem Grass are:
Typically a shorter, upright-growing, fine-textured blue to blue-green grass, Little Bluestem Grasses are the smallest of the three varieties and grow to a maximum of 3 feet. These Grasses are incredibly drought-tolerant.
Also known as Perennial Bunch Grass, Big Bluestem Grasses are the taller siblings of Little Blues and can grow up to 10 feet tall and has green to blue-green foliage The fall color is usually maroonish-tan/russet. Needing a bit more moisture access than Little Blue, Big Bluestem is perfect for privacy screens, and for pollinator conservation.
Sand Bluestem resembles Big Bluestem but is a bit smaller, and the stems are bluish in color. This Tall Prairie Grass species spreads by underground rhizomes and is highly developed to grow in sandy soils, spreading into wide colonies when allowed.
What is the Benefit of Bluestem Grass?
Any of these low-maintenance Ornamental Grasses are outstanding when planted in mass plantings or as an accent plant. Providing great texture, Blue Stem is a striking addition to any yard all summer, fall, and winter.
You'd find this growing in prairies, pastures, and field edges where they thrive with less. These Bluestem Grasses are often used to stabilize various soils and protect them from erosion caused by the wind.
These Ornamentals are valued as forage, landscaping, wildlife, and conservation! Many are even Caterpillar Host plants and nesting sites for a wide variety of songbirds!
Is Bluestem Grass Invasive?
Native varieties of Bluestem are not invasive but introduced varieties from Africa and Asia can be to an extent. Nature Hills uses Plant Sentry™ to ensure that you are not able to purchase any plants that are prohibited by your state because it's an invasive species or to prevent insects or diseases from being introduced to any area where it is restricted.
Bluestem Perennial Grass Care
Bluestems are warm-season, native, large clumping perennial grasses that come in several varieties Warm-season grasses need the soil needs to warm up before it starts to grow. Cold-hardy throughout USDA zone 3 and 4, these grasses are also heat and humidity resistant through USDA planting zone 9 and 10!
These deep-rooted Ornamental Grasses need well-drained soils on the drier side once established, and they despise soggy conditions. These Grasses are tolerant of a wide range of soils and moisture. They thrive in warm temperatures with moderate amounts of rain and tolerate harsh conditions. During the cold winters, they turn brown to tan and go dormant.
Enjoy their winter texture and form for winter interest, standing tall through the snow, then Prune back close to the ground in early spring before it starts to grow.
Every 3-5 years, it is recommended to divide your clumps in very early spring before they begin to grow. This helps keep the crowns free of dead debris and maintains their vigor.
Great Bluestem Grasses
From the incredible light blue-green color of The Blues Little Bluestem to the dramatic dark hues of Blackhawks Big Bluestem, there’s an Andropogon for your landscape!
Get these low-maintenance prairie native family of Bluestem Grasses to add easy elegance to your landscapes big or small!