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A North American prairie native, Indian paintbrush will color a meadow or perennial garden with red-orange clusters of showy bracts in late spring or early summer. This unusual native relies on other plants for part of its nutrients. Its roots will grow until they come in contact with another plant's roots. It will then tap into the host plant¿s roots to obtain valuable nutrients. The host plant is commonly a grass plant and is not usually harmed by the relationship. Indian paintbrush is known to be slightly unpredictable -- some years the foliage will be brilliantly colored and other years it will be muted. This unpredictability is part of the plant¿s charm -- you never know what the year will bring! Indian paintbrush grows best in full sun and well-drained soil.
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A mainstay of the now nearly lost tallgrass prairie, little bluestem was once king of regions where buffalo roamed. Today, in your garden, it's gorgeous when backlit by the sun, especially in fall when it turns a glorious red, tan, or gold. This fine-textured, warm season grass can be incorporated easily into mixed borders, meadows, and wild gardens. It has bluish or green stems and produces tan flower spikelets, which turn silvery white as they age and dry well. It is happy in most soils but little bluestem needs full sun.
Valued for its unusual flower shape, blazing star sends up erect spires of usually magenta, sometimes white flowers. Emerging from grasslike foliage, the blooms make a dramatic statement in flower gardens with other perennials, annuals, or even shrubs. Well-drained but moisture-retentive soil is a must for this prairie native.