'Blackhawks' Big Bluestem is a beautiful Andropogon selection from Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens. The 4' stems emerge with green blades in spring, but the foliage takes on shades of deep purple in mid summer. The turkey foot inflorescences appear in August and turn into airy, light catching seedheads for added fall and winter beauty. Andropogon gerardii 'Blackhawks' got its name from its origins in Illinois (Chicago Blackhawks), and it thrives in prairie like conditions.
'Red October' Big Bluestem is an exciting color breakthrough for this tough native grass. The leaves are tipped with burgundy and held on tall upright green stems in summer. The fall the foliage turns a bright scarlet red for several weeks after the first frost. 'Red October' also has red turkey-foot-shaped seed, particularly showy when backlit. The sturdy upright stems are an attractive tan in winter. An important food source for winter birds. Introduced by Intrinsic Perennials.
PRN Preferred: Spring foliage emerges with reddish highlights, strong red fall color.
‘Black Mountain’ Bluestem is a tough native grass which was found on Black Mountain, North Carolina by Terry Dalton of the North Carolina Arboretum. He chose it from his family’s wild meadow because of its compact stature and attractive blue green foliage. Andropogon ‘Black Mountain’ is showy in the fall when the stems take on reddish hues and the silvery inflorescences catch the light. ‘Black Mountain’ is happiest if left alone, so do not fertilize or irrigate once it is established.
Broom-sedge or Beardgrass is a tough native grass that adds great beauty to sterile, dry meadows and open fields. The green upright stems take on shades of reddish-burgundy in September, as they are coming into flower. The seedheads are an airy silver displayed all along the grass stems, and are particularly stunning when backlit by afternoon light. The fall and winter color of the strong upright stems is a bright orange tan.
'Peppermint Stick' Giant Reed Grass has very wide green leaves that are vividly striped with white. The stems are heavy enough to look like bamboo. Michael Bowell, of Create a Scene in PA, loves it because it retains its variegation well in the heat of the summer, rather than turning into enormous looking horse corn.