Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Little Bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Schizachyrium (ski-za-KRY-ee-um) (Info)
Species: scoparium (sko-PAIR-ee-um) (Info)

Synonym:Schizachyrium scoparium var. scoparium
Synonym:Andropogon scoparius

9 vendors have this plant for sale.

22 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

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)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
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; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 18 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Jan 27, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This is my favorite ornamental grass for gardens, besides being a prairie or meadow plant. It is not the flashiest, which is good for me, but it has a good bluish foliage color, wonderful texture, and soft foliage that feels good. The flowers and seed heads have a lovely aspect to me. It is easy to dig up and reset or divide. It does self-sow a little bit in gardens, but not lots. It is reliable, adaptable and easy to grow, best in full sun. The only disadvantage is that when the rounded clumps of spring then develop the flowering scapes in late June-July, they often fall over some. One can cut back the scapes in June and they won't fall over. When the foliage dries out in fall, the scapes become upright again. This species often develops a good orangish autumn color.

Positive PrairieRiz On Jan 11, 2011, PrairieRiz from Manilla, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Beautiful plant of the tallgrass prairie perfectly suited for the home garden. Extremely drought tolerant and is perfect in full sun. One plant of mine is in mostly afternoon sun and grows well (though it was not very erect and needed to be tied together to look fine) while the other was in part shade. This one need to be tied up together as well and was floppy. Stays a consistent blue color when in bright sun but turns green in more shade.

Positive dkm65 On Jul 22, 2007, dkm65 from Cedar Falls, IA (Zone 4b) wrote:

Important native prairie grass, and great for smaller native gardens that would be overwhelmed by some of the taller native grasses. Leaves in the 2-3' range, with seed heads a bit taller. Great winter interest, in that it holds its seed heads and the stems turn a reddish/mahogany color in the fall. A large area of little bluestem in the late fall or winter is very striking.

Seed is eaten by various birds, so it is an important winter bird fodder. Also important for wildlife ground cover.

Very drought tolerant, and while it prefers full sun it will do fine in light shade.

You shouldn't need to stratify the seed (as the above file notes say), as it germinates fairly readily once the soil is warm.

Positive frostweed On Nov 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Little Bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium is native to Texas and other States.

Neutral lupinelover On Apr 26, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Prairie native. Clump forming grass. Leaves grow to 4" and flower stalks grow to 8". Stays green year-round. Highly drought resistance. Does well in light shade.


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

Casscoe, Arkansas
Denver, Colorado
Grand Junction, Colorado
Deerfield, Illinois
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Hinsdale, Illinois
Urbana, Illinois
Logansport, Indiana
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Manilla, Iowa
Waterloo, Iowa
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Buckfield, Maine
Springfield, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Portland, Oregon
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Neenah, Wisconsin

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