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Blue Fescue

Festuca glauca

A truly versatile perennial grass, blue fescue has a wonderful blue color that lasts all year. It can be used as an accent plant, in mass plantings, containers, crevices—the list is endless! With its clump-forming habit, blue fescue forms uniform balls of foliage topped with feathery straw bloom stalks in the summer. Blue fescue is also very drought tolerant, making it a great choice for rock gardens.

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Part Sun, Sun



From 6 inches to 3 feet


6-18 inches wide

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:




Colorful Combinations

With its compact habit and blue foliage, blue fescue works well in many 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. Its noninvasive trait also means it works well as an edging plant because it won't leave its bounds. If you plan on using these plants in masses, select the same variety to ensure same-color foliage.

See more ways to use ornamental grass in your landscape.

Blue Fescue Care Must-Knows

Blue fescue is a great multitasker that can handle varying conditions. 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.

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.

New Innovations

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.

See the best grasses for birds.

More Varieties of Blue Fescue

'Elijah Blue' blue fescue

Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' forms a compact 8- to 10-inch-tall tuft of fine bluish-green leaves. Zones 4-8

'Sea Urchin' blue fescue

Festuca glauca 'Sea Urchin' is also sometimes listed by its official name 'Seeigel'. It forms a dense 10-inch-tall mound. Zones 4-8

Plant Blue Fescue With:

The quintessential cottage flower, pinks are treasured for their grasslike blue-green foliage and abundant starry flowers, which are often spicily fragrant. Depending on the type of pink, flowers appear in spring or summer and tend to be pink, red, white, rose, or lavender—nearly all shades except true blue. Plants range from tiny creeping groundcovers to 30-inch-tall cut flowers, which are a favorite with florists. Foliage is blue-green. Shown above: 'Firewitch' dianthus
Blanket flower
Blanket flowers are wonderfully cheerful, long-blooming plants for hot, sunny gardens. They produce single or double daisy flowers through most of the summer and well into fall. The light brick red flowers are tipped with yellow. Blanket flowers tolerate light frost and are seldom eaten by deer. Deadhead the flowers to keep them blooming consistently through the summer and into fall. Some species tend to be short-lived, especially if the soil is not well drained.
Shrub rose
Shrub roses take the best of the hardiest rose species, and combine those traits with modern repeat blooming and diverse flower forms, colors and fragrances. Some shrub roses may grow tall with vigorous, far-reaching canes; others stay compact. Recent rose breeding has focused on developing hardier shrub roses for landscaping that needs little to no maintenance.
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