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Big Bluestem Andropogon gerardi

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
an-dro-POH-gon jer-AR-dee-eye
Description

Andropogon gerardii is a warm-season grass, long-lived, and spreads by short rhizomes. This is recognized as Illinois official prairie grass.  However, it may become floppy if grown in shade, and it is slow to become established. Although this plant tolerates a wide range of soil types (sand, clay), it prefers fertile, well-drained soil.  Ecologists have used this beautiful grass for prairie restorations, naturalizing an area for nesting birds and mammals, meadow gardens and for screening.

Compare this Plant to: Andropogon glomeratusAndropogon ternariusAndropogon virginicus

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#red#sun#fall color#full sun#blue#drought tolerant#orange#orange leaves#red leaves#winter interest#fall interest#ornamental grass#blue leaves#grass#copper leaves#blue-green#warm-season grass#food source fall#food source herbage#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#birds#butterfly larvae
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#red#sun#fall color#full sun#blue#drought tolerant#orange#orange leaves#red leaves#winter interest#fall interest#ornamental grass#blue leaves#grass#copper leaves#blue-green#warm-season grass#food source fall#food source herbage#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#birds#butterfly larvae
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Andropogon
    Species:
    gerardi
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    N. & Central America
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant is a larval host for butterflies.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought tolerant, tolerates a wide range of soil (clay, sand)
    Edibility:
    non-edible
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ornamental Grass
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Clumping
    Erect
    Open
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit displays from August to November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    The flower's inflorescence appears from July to October, opens red and darkens with age, not very showy, and is forked like a turkey's foot.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has 3/8 in. green to blue-green leaves turns orange to copper-red in fall.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Drought
    Erosion
    Pollution
    Salt