Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Little Bluestem Plant Features

We think little bluestem is one sun-loving perennial no garden should be without. There's a lot to be said for this North American native plant, including how delightfully easy it is to grow. Once established in your garden, little bluestem resists heat and drought, deer and rabbits, and even grows in thick, heavy clay. 

Little bluestem offers lovely blue-green or blue-gray foliage throughout the spring and summer months. Then in autumn, it amps up the show when the leaves turn festive shades of red and purple. The neutral color in summer makes it a perfect backdrop for just about any other perennial or annual. Its fall display makes little bluestem an ideal partner for growing with mums and other late-season favorites. And because little bluestem grows 3 to 4 feet tall, you can tuck it just about anywhere in your yard -- including containers! It grows in Zones 3-8.

Little Bluestem Questions?
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Little Bluestem Growing Instructions

Grow little bluestem in full sun for best effect -- that means it wants at least 6 hours of direct sun per day. If little bluestem doesn't get enough light, it might get a little taller and flop over during the growing season. Its fall foliage display won't be as intense, either. 

Once little bluestem is established in your garden, it's drought tolerant -- so you only need to worry about giving it a drink during severe drought conditions. 

It's best to cut little bluestem back to a couple of inches tall every year in early spring, just before it starts to grow new leaves. After a few years, divide your little bluestem to keep it growing healthily and to prevent the center from dying out. Get tips to divide perennials like little blustem. 

Little bluestem not recommended for human or animal consumption, but birds will feast on its seeds in autumn and winter. 
  • Water

    Low water needs

    Medium water needs

  • Light

    Outside: Sun

  • Colors



  • Special Features

    Deer/rabbit resistant

    Super-easy to grow

Complement your Little Bluestem

Lantana is an annual flower that lends an extra dose of color to sun-loving perennials like little bluestem.

Evening Primrose
No-fuss evening primrose creates a carpet of color under little blustem and both are drought tolerant.

Coneflower and little bluestem are native to the same areas, so they like the same growing conditions. They both also attract birds in autumn with their seeds.

Our favorite varieties

Standing Ovation Little Bluestem

Standing Ovation Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation'

Standing Ovation little bluestem is a wonderful upgrade of a fantastic, tried-and-true native prairie plant. This variety shows off blue-green foliage in spring and summer that turns lovely shades of purple and red in autumn. Unlike the wild type, Standing Ovation stays upright and doesn't flop over. It grows 48 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 3-8