DESCRIPTION: This dwarf, clump forming, warm season native features a unique rounded shape and resistance to lodging; blue-green blades with a purplish-bronze bloom; a true kaleidoscope of autumn color. BOTANICAL NAME: Schizachyrium...
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DESCRIPTION: This dwarf, clump forming, warm season native features a unique rounded shape and resistance to lodging; blue-green blades with a purplish-bronze bloom; a true kaleidoscope of autumn color.

BOTANICAL NAME: Schizachyrium scoparium
OTHER NAMES: Little Bluestem, Carousel Bluestem
AVERAGE MATURE HEIGHT: 60-75 cm
AVERAGE MATURE SPREAD: 45-60 cm
SUN EXPOSURE: Full sun to partial shade
FLOWER COLOUR: Brown
FLOWERING TIME: Summer
FOLIAGE COLOUR: Blue green
COLD HARDINESS: Zone 3 ( Should survive up to -39.9° Celsius )
WATER NEEDS: Average or Dry or Moist - Drought tolerant
OTHER FEATURES: Border, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Fall Colour, Winter Interest

Ornamental Features

Little Blue Stem is primarily grown for its highly ornamental features. The red seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance from early fall to late winter. Its attractive grassy leaves are bluish-green in colour. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous orange in the fall. It has masses of beautiful spikes of deep purple flowers rising above the foliage in late summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. The brick red stems are very colorful and add to the overall interest of the plant.

Landscape Attributes

Little Blue Stem is an herbaceous perennial grass with an upright spreading habit of growth. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cut back to the ground in late winter before active growth resumes. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Little Blue Stem is recommended for the following landscape applications:

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover

Planting & Growing

Little Blue Stem will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity extending to 32 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 18 inches. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years. It can be propagated by division.

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America. 

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