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PlantFiles: 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

14 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

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:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

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There are a total of 19 photos.
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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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

In 2003 I planted two small plants from small plastic pots, that came from a mostly mail order nursery, in my backyard native plant garden. The company died out about 2005, but it was Limerock Ornamental Grasses Inc. in central Pennsylvania near Port Matilda. They actually were the cultivar 'Niagra' that has a little darker. bluer foliage than the mother species. They took 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.

Positive NordicFletch 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.

Positive Agaveguy 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.

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

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

Neutral smiln32 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.


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

Denver, Colorado
Aurora, 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

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