The 2022 Perennial plant of the year! Congrats to little bluestem!
This clump-forming, warm season grass emerges horizontal, and remains upright through winter. From the Perennial Plant Association: “Summer through fall, the slender leaves and stems of little bluestem are an ever-changing kaleidoscope of gray-green, blue, pink, purple, copper, mahogany, red, and orange tones. Wispy silver-white seed heads sparkle in autumn sunlight and coppery brown leaves persist through winter.”
Does best in average to lean, well-drained soils. Adaptable to a range of conditions such as clay and poor soils. Good drought resistance once established, and tolerant of heat and humidity. Does not like overly wet conditions; will flop in moist, fertile soils. If you feel the need to cut back grasses, I would encourage you to do so in the spring, after three consecutive days of 50 degrees or more, to allow insects and wildlife overwintering underneath the grasses to emerge.
One of the dominant grasses of the tallgrass prairie which once covered large parts of the Midwest. Extensive root system makes this a good grass for erosion control. Native grasses provide cover and food for songbirds, nesting material/structure for native bees, and are larval host plants for butterflies and moths. And Schizachyrium scoparium is recommended by the Garden for Wildlife Program of the National Wildlife Federation for attracting fireflies into your yard!
Height: 2-4 ft.
Spread: 1.5-2 ft.
Sun: full sun
Bloom time: August to February
Bloom: purplish bronze
Water: dry to medium
photo credit: Alexschott