Pollinator Friendly Nursery

Grasses

Indian Grass

Sorghastrum nutans

- Native perennial grass, 3 to 5 feet tall.
- Blue-green foliage stands upright.
- Blooms late Summer/early Fall.
- Grown easily in dry to medium, well drained soils in full sun.
- Does well in poor, dry, infertile soils.
- Bronze/Chestnut brown in the Fall.

Indian Grass is a warm season perennial grass which typically occurs in prairies, glades and open woods. It was one of the dominant grasses of the tallgrass prairie which once covered large parts of the Midwest. Typically grows 3-5 feet tall and is noted for its upright form and blue-green foliage. It forms upright clumps (to 2-3 feet tall) of slender, blue-green leaves Foliage turns orange-yellow in fall and usually retains hints of color into the winter. Stiff, vertical flowering stems, topped with narrow, feathery, light brown flower panicles (to 12 inches long) highlighted with yellow stamens, rise well above the foliage clump in late summer to 5-6 feet tall. Panicles darken to bronze/chestnut brown in fall as they mature, later fading to gray. Panicles continue to provide some interest well into winter. Provides nesting habitat for many birds. Larval host for skipper butterflies.

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Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium

- Native perennial grass to prairies, fields, clearings, hills, limestone glades, and open woods.
- Matures to 2 to 4 feet tall, upright clumps of slender, flat, linear green leaves, with each leaf having a tinge of blue at the base.
- Purplish bronze flowers appear in 3 inch long racemes on branched stems rising above the foliage in August.
- Many consider the most outstanding ornamental feature of this grass to be its bronze-orange fall foliage color.
- Flowers are followed by clusters of fluffy, silvery-white seed heads which are attractive and often persist into winter.

Little Bluestem is often used in prairie restorations and it is occasionally found in gardens as an ornamental grass. Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Tolerates clay soils. Performs well in poor soils. A good low-maintenance selection for sun-baked areas. Larval host for many species of butterflies (Delaware Skipper, Ottoe, Dusted Skipper, Beard-Grass skippers and Common Wood Nymph).

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Prairie Dropseed

Sporobolus heterolepsis

- Prairie Dropseed, is a clump-forming, warm season, perennial grass, about 15 inches tall.
- Has a wonderful tussock-forming growth habit and takes on a nice golden hue all throughout the fall and winter.
- Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils, including heavy clays.
- Good drought tolerance.
- Slow-growing and slow to establish.

Prairie Dropseed, is a clump-forming, warm season, perennial grass which typically occurs in prairies, glades, and open ground. Fine-textured, hair-like, medium green leaves (to 20 inches long and 1/16-inch wide) typically form an arching foliage mound to 15 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Foliage turns golden with orange hues in fall, fading to light bronze in winter. Open, branching flower panicles appear on slender stems which rise well above the foliage clump in late summer to 30-36 inches tall. Flowers have pink and brown tints, but are perhaps most noted for their unique fragrance (hints of coriander). Tiny rounded mature seeds drop to the ground from their hulls in autumn giving rise to the descriptive common name. Prairie Dropseed is of special value as nesting sites for bees. Native grasses are the larval food plants of the Leonard’s Skipper.

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Tufted Hairgrass

Deschampsia cespitosa

- Native perennial grass. Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers moist, organically rich soils.
- One of the few ornamental grasses that grows well in moderately shady locations, however it will not flower well if moved into too much shade.
- Flowering stems may be removed in fall to tidy plants or left for winter interest.
- Cut old foliage to the ground in late winter before new shoots appear.

Tufted Hair Grass is a clump-forming, cool season grass. The grass emerges green and turns gold late in the season, keeping good color and form for winter interest. Typically forms a low, dense tussock (to 16 inches tall) of very thin (1/2-inch wide), arching, flat to in-rolled, dark green grass blades (to 2 feet long). Numerous flower stems rise in summer from the foliage mound to a height of 3 feet bearing wide, airy panicles (to 20 inches long) of tiny, variably-colored flowers (tones of gold, silver, purple and green) which form a cloud over the foliage that is particularly attractive when backlit. Flower panicles turn yellowish-tan after bloom as the seed ripens and may remain attractive through much of the winter. One of the few ornamental grasses that grows well in shade. Larval food plant for several butterflies in North America including the Umber Skipper.

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