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Big bluestem

Andropogon gerardii

Big bluestem

A key plant in American prairies, big bluestem is so named because it has attractive blue-green foliage through the growing season. As summer fades to fall, it takes on golden, red, and purplish hues, complementing the rosy forked seed heads. As you would expect from a native prairie grass, it thrives in poor, dry soils and in full sun.

Plant Type:
Plant Height:
5-10 feet tall
Plant Width:
2-3 feet wide
Flower Color:
The bluish-green foliage is the main attraction
Bloom Time:
Blooms late summer into fall
Landscape Uses:
Special Features:
Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Winter Interest,Dried Flowers,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow
Top Varieties

Andropogon glomeratus is an easy-to-grow species from North America that features fantastic copper fall color. It tolerates a range of soil types, from wet to dry. This fast spreader can be too aggressive for small gardens. Broomsedge bluestem grows 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Zones 5-8
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Andropogon glomeratus is a North American native grass with blue-green foliage in summer that turns coppery-red in autumn. It's prized for its fluffy flower stalks that crown the plant in fall. It grows 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Zones 4-10
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Plant It With

All types of purple coneflower team well with big bluestem. The dusky-rose daisies of purple coneflower complement the blue-green foliage of bluestem.

Joe Pye weed

The late summer purplish blooms of Joe-Pye weed rise above the foliage of big bluestem. Both are tall enough to create a temporary screen, and both work well in prairie plantings.

False sunflower

The yellow daisylike blooms of false sunflower are borne on a plant large enough to be in scale with big bluestem. The bluish foliage of bluestem creates a knockout backdrop for the yellow flowers.