Indian Grass 'Indian Steel'

Sorghastrum nutans

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sorghastrum (sor-GAS-trum) (Info)
Species: nutans (NUT-ans) (Info)
Cultivar: Indian Steel


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


18-24 in. (45-60 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


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall


Grown for foliage


Provides winter interest

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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

Cotopaxi, Colorado

Grand Junction, Colorado

Grove City, Ohio

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 30, 2014, hitchingpost770 from COTOPAXI, CO wrote:

Took almost two years to get a nice clump of it established. Growing in lean, slightly alkaline soil. Did better with once a week soaking with drip irrigation. Nice seed heads enjoyed by many birds. Falls over in heavy winds, but rights itself in a short period of time. Protect from rabbits while getting established.


On Jan 17, 2005, southernOhio from Proctorville, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

The plant wants to layover on the ground, We keep it upright with a small wire cage near the bottom.


On Sep 7, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a very easy-to-grow ornamental grass. It remains in a clump which can be (relatively) easily divided in spring.

Cut off the flower stalks if you don't want seedlings the following year.

Grow it in very lean soil for best results. Excess soil fertility will make it fall over.