A truly versatile perennial grass, blue fescue has an eye-catching blue hue that lasts all year. With its clump-forming habit, blue fescue forms uniform balls of foliage topped with feathery straw bloom stalks in the summer. It can be used as an accent plant, in mass plantings, containers, and crevices. Blue fescue is also very drought tolerant, making it a great choice for rock gardens.
With its compact habit and blue foliage, blue fescue works well in a variety of settings. The classic blue color of the foliage accents most colors and makes a cool statement in a mass planting. Blue fescue's uniform habit adds both texture and color when used in mixed containers. It stays in bounds, not spreading very quickly, so it also works well as an edging plant. If you plan on using these plants in masses, select the same variety to ensure same-color foliage.
Blue Fescue Care Must-Knows
Thanks to its drought tolerance, blue fescue works well in rock gardens in average garden soil. Ideally, these plants like well-drained and evenly moist soils for a consistent blue color. They also appreciate supplemental watering while establishing themselves.
Planting blue fescue in full sun will help the plant achieve bright blue colors. In part sun, leaves tend to be more on the green side. It is important to remember that blue fescue is a cool-season grass; in warmer climates, there is a chance that plants will die back and go dormant through the heat of the summer. If they do, you can simply cut the foliage back and wait. Blue fescue does most of its growing in the spring and fall, so once the weather starts to cool off again, the plant will reflush with bright, new growth. You can put the plants in part sun in warmer climates to keep them cooler and prevent summer dormancy.
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Keeping these plants happy is a fairly easy job. In climates where blue fescue is evergreen, you don't need to cut them back in the spring. Everywhere else, the plants should be sheared back to a few inches from the ground to allow plenty of room for fresh new foliage to grow. Blue fescue can be a fairly short-lived perennial. You can alleviate this by regularly dividing plants. Dig them up and cut them into smaller pieces, making sure that all of them have a good amount of foliage and roots. This prevents plants from dying out in the middle and looking unsightly.
Because blue fescue is propagated by seed, the quality of the blue foliage is often inconsistent. As time has passed, researchers have created seedling selections that have a stronger, bolder blue color. These seed selections are what you see today in commercial blue fescue varieties. Along with color, researchers are working to create varieties of blue fescue that are more heat tolerant.