Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Blue Stem) "The Blues"
Schizachyrium scoparium, commonly known as "Little Blue Stem" and a name I particularly like to say, is a warm-season clumping grass from the prairies of North America. It's not only known for its blueness, which is reason enough to want to use it in the landscape, but it's also known for the way it changes colors throughout the seasons: from pale gray-green, to blue, deep purple, red, and orange, and in winter, it's a coppery brown that is equally attractive, particularly against a backdrop of snow. And that's not all: the wispy flower heads have the ability to catch the luminosity of the sky and create a lovely show of their own. "Little Blue Stem" remains upright during the growing season, is tolerant of drought and poor soil, and is practically maintenance free (best to cut it back to four inches in spring). It also provides nourishment and shelter for wildlife, including birds and butterflies. It seems to be perfect in every way. The endearing blueness of "The Blues" is accented by its red stems. It grows to two feet (three feet with blooms) in full sun in Zones 3-9. Quarts. I have to say that of all the grasses I have so far, this is my favorite, and it's not even in full color yet. There is blueness, but there is also a great deal of maroon and emerald with that blueness. When it rains, the droplets rest on the leaves and really make it shimmer. I can't help but touch it when I walk past. (Photo courtesy of Hoffman Nursery and used with permission.)