Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Indian Grass
Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel'

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

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

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

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds
Flowers are good for drying and preserving
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)
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

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By hczone6
Thumbnail #1 of Sorghastrum nutans by hczone6

By hczone6
Thumbnail #2 of Sorghastrum nutans by hczone6


2 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive hitchingpost770 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.

Negative southernOhio 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.

Positive lupinelover 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.


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

Cotopaxi, Colorado
Grand Junction, Colorado
Grove City, Ohio

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