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September Wildflower Spotlight: 
Little Bluestem

Little Bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Little Bluestem is a popular native ornamental grass for use in private and public gardens. In the spring and summer, shades of blue and green hues compliment the landscape. The russet red fall color stalks with their silvery seed heads stay attractive all winter. The slender foliage grows from 18 inches to 3 feet tall. This grass is drought and flood-tolerant and can grow in light shade. Although it prefers a moist, fertile, well-drained soil, it tolerates most soil pH and can thrive in our North Carolina poor soils. What makes Little Bluestem drought tolerant is its deep, almost vertical root growth similar to trees.  The plant needs no fertilization and  is often used for erosion control on slopes. 

Plant Little Bluestem with wildflowers in a meadow setting.  Use it in borders with perennials or in mass plantings for summer, fall and winter interest. Cut to the ground in the early spring before new growth begins. Divide every few years. Store the seeds in a cool dry place.

Little Bluestem is also a fabulous plant for wildlife.  It serves as  a larval host plant for several butterflies,  its fine clumping foliage provides protective cover and nest sites for many birds, and its seed heads are a source of food.

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