Big Bluestem, Turkeyfoot

Andropogon gerardii

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Andropogon (an-dro-POH-gon) (Info)
Species: gerardii (jer-AR-dee-eye) (Info)
Synonym:Andropogon gerardi
Synonym:Andropogon gerardii var. chrysocomus


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)

USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:

Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall


Grown for foliage

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Denver, Colorado

Aurora, Illinois

Batavia, Illinois

Hinsdale, Illinois

Saint Marys, Kansas

Murray, Kentucky

Stanchfield, Minnesota

Springfield, Missouri

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Nashville, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Lampasas, Texas

New Ulm, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Appleton, Wisconsin

Westfield, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 7, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Big Bluestem is one of the major grasses of the Midwestern prairie and of some of the native meadow in the Eastern US. It is used a lot in prairie and native meadow restorations from seed collected in surviving native habitats. Native plant nurseries, as Prairie Nursery in Westfield, WI, sell potted plants for gardens and naturalistic landscapes. In 2003 I planted one regular Big Bluegrass along with two 'Nigra' Big Bluestems as small potted plants They took off well in my all good quality clay soil that is barely acid. They self-sow some around the garden. Full-sized in two years. In gardens the flowering stalks tend to lodge, so I sometimes cut the emerging stalks back in July to keep them shorter or I can stake them.


On Apr 7, 2010, NordicFletch from Stanchfield, MN wrote:

The Big Bluestem is one of THE Prairie grasses. Central, South and Southwest Minnesota once had some of the most extensive Bluestem Prairies in the U.S. That alone should be enough to guess how hardy it is, and how well it grows in a variety of conditions.


On May 17, 2009, Agaveguy from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Grows in limestone soils and limestone river gravel. Can tolerate relatively high pH.


On Nov 22, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Big Bluestem, Turkeyfoot Andropogon gerardii is native to Texas and other States.


On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Easily grown in average, dry to medium wet, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils and growing conditions. Puts out lots of growth in moist, fertile soils, but is less apt to topple in dryish, infertile soils. Freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. This grass develops an extensive root system and is somewhat slow to establish, but, once established, has excellent drought tolerance and is easy to maintain. Cut stems to the ground in late winter before new shoots appear.