'Carousel' Little Bluestem is a more compact version of our lovely native grass, with beautiful blue-green summer foliage which turns amazing shades of purple and bronze in fall. The delicate seedheads appear in August and September, and are especially showy when backlit by evening sunlight. Plant in excellent drainage for the best performance. Found by Donald Boehm of Illinois, and introduced by Chicagoland Grows®, so you know it's cold tolerant. All Little Bluestems attract butterflies when in bloom and songbirds when in seed.
‘Chameleon’ Little Bluestem is a chance seedling found in Hantay, France. The parent from which it sported was Schizachyrium ‘The Blues’. The foliage of Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Chameleon’ has green and white stripes in summer, which take on shades of pink, red and light purple in late summer and fall. The name of this exciting new Little Bluestem refers to its color changing characteristics. Introduced into the US by Hoffman Nursery. Must have good drainage.
‘Prairie Blues’ Little Bluestem is tall and upright, with attractive gray blue foliage in summer. Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Prairie Blues’ takes on shades of rosy orange and purple as temperatures drop in late summer and early fall. The silvery seedheads persist on the tan stems well into the winter, feeding and sheltering birds and small mammals. ‘Prairie Blues’ performs best in dry and well-drained sites. Found originally in Missouri.
‘Standing Ovation’ Little Bluestem is an introduction by those talented folks at North Creek Nurseries. The steel blue blades are wider than most Little Bluestem. With thicker stems, the habit is reliably upright throughout the summer, fall, and winter. The summer colors of blue with hints of purple turn to spectacular shades of lavender, red, and orange in the fall. The airy seedheads are beautiful, especially when backlit by afternoon light, and the light tan winter color is displayed impressively on the upright strong stems. We find that it tolerates more irrigation than we expected, although its ideal conditions are those of dry sterile sites. One of the native plants chosen by Piet Oudolf for the newly planted meadow garden at Delaware Botanic Gardens.
PRN Preferred: The multi-colored foliage is showy from spring through fall, and the growth habit is both upright and tall.
'Twilight Zone' Little Bluestem is a tall native grass which thrives in dry, sterile locations. This selection was introduced by Walters Gardens because of its vivid coloration, which is visible starting in mid summer, earlier than many Schizachyriums. The leaves and stems sport shades of silver, mauve and purple which become more purple and burgundy as the weather cools. The seedheads appear in early fall and are both beautiful and a source of food for birds. Dry sites are critical to keeping 'Twilight Zone' upright.
Autumn Moor Grass is a good adaptable short grass that produces chartreuse-green fine foliage topped by delicate creamy seedheads in late summer. It is happy in both sun and partial shade, and tolerates dry sites. Most effective in large sweeps in the landscape, especially since Sesleria stays green well into late fall.
'Indian Steel' Yellow Prairie Grass has 3' steel-blue foliage that is crowned in mid to late summer by 5' showy yellow and orange flower spikes. These turn a beautiful orange-bronze in the fall, as does the foliage, and the effect in mass is stunning. Sorgastrum n. 'Indian Steel' prefers dry sites, and is a very important source of food in late summer for grassland birds.
Prairie Dropseed is a green clumping grass with airy delicate panicles held high above the foliage. The fall color is a wonderful orange, changing to cream in winter. It is extremely tolerant of dry sites, and it has a wonderful flowery fragrance to boot when planted in mass. An important seed source for winter birds.
PRN Preferred: What other grass combines beautiful airy seed panicles, showy fall color and great fragrance?
Giant Sacaton is a big warm season grass that is readily adaptable to a variety of soil types. Sporobolus wrightii produces narrow green blades that make a 4’ clump, out of which come 5’ silvery inflorescences in late summer. The seedheads make a striking addition to fresh or dried flower arrangements. Giant Sacaton originated in the Southwest, where it is an important food source for livestock (grazing) and wildlife (seeds). This is an excellent native replacement for Miscanthus.