'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.
'Smoke Signal' Little Bluestem is a Walters Gardens introduction, chosen for its vivid coloration in late summer and fall. The foliage is a bluish green in early to mid summer, turning to deep red and purple shades starting in August. The translucent seedheads are an important food source for grassland birds, and the tan stems maintain their upright habit throughout winter. Schizachyrium thrives best in dry, sterile sites, and does not want supplemental irrigation or fertilizer.
‘Standing Ovation’ Little Bluestem is an exciting new 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.
'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.
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?