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Bouteloua gracilis

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Bouteloua aristidoides
Description

Blue gramma is a small warm-season ornamental grass in the Poaceae (grass) family.  It is native to the central region of North America.  The genus name Bouteloua comes from Spanish botanists Exteban and Claudius Boutelou, and the species name gracilis is Latin for graceful.  They form a dense clump reaching a height of 15" tall.

Plant this grass in the full sun and it will tolerate a wide range of soils poor and dry soils as long as they have good drainage. The leaves are bright green to blue gray and its summer flower heads are charming  and work well in dried arrangments.  This grass can also be mowed to a height of 2" tall and used as a lawn alternative for areas that get light foot traffic.  This grass self-seeds easily and turns attractive shades of brown, orange, and red in the fall.

Use this delicate grass in small groups in a rock garden, drought tolerant garden, naturalized area, or meadow.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious problems.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#lawn alternative#low maintenance#air pollution tolerant#erosion control#warm-season grass#rock gardens#self-seeding#naturalized area#dried arrangements#poor soils tolerant#small group plantings#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#foot traffic tolerant#black walnut toxicity tolerant#shallow soil tolerant#lawn alternative full sun
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#lawn alternative#low maintenance#air pollution tolerant#erosion control#warm-season grass#rock gardens#self-seeding#naturalized area#dried arrangements#poor soils tolerant#small group plantings#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#foot traffic tolerant#black walnut toxicity tolerant#shallow soil tolerant#lawn alternative full sun
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Bouteloua
    Species:
    gracilis
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    West and Central Canada to Mexico
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Caryopsis
    Fruit Description:
    Attractive tan seed heads in the summer look like mosquito larvae hence the common name. The seed heads are arranged on only one side of the stem.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    June to August flowers with a hint of purple appear on arching stems that can reach 20" tall.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Bright green to blue gray fine leaves 1/4" wide
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Erosion
    Foot Traffic
    Pollution
    Poor Soil