COMMON NAME: Little Bluestem
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Schizachyrium scoparium
The name come from Greek meaning the glume or the toothed lemmas. “Scoparium” means broom-like.
FLOWER COLOR: Little bluestem is a grass that adds color in the fall when it turns
pinkish. Its silky seeds catch in the sunlight.
BLOOMING PERIOD: August with seeds that are showy from September into
SIZE: 2 to 3 ½ feet
BEHAVIOR: Dense and tufted perennial grass that spreads to form clumps of
SITE REQUIREMENTS: Little bluestem has a wide tolerance of soil types from mesic
to dry (sand or gravel). While it persists in light shade, it grows best in lots of sun.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Because of its size little bluestem is best suited for the
background of small prairie gardens or in the foreground with taller plantings. It is
most showy in late summer and fall, a time when the flowering season is nearly
RANGE: Occurs in almost all of the US.
SUGGESTED CARE: Vigorous seedlings or older plants can be divided. New plants
should be watered during dry periods the first year.
COMPANION PLANTS: It is found on rocky hillsides with leadplant, silky aster,
purple prairie clover, yellow coneflower and needle grass. On mesic prairie sites it
is with big bluestem, rattlesnake master and Indian grass. On sandy, oak barrens it
is found with butterfly weed, azure aster, rough blazing star, wild lupine, downy
phlox, showy goldenrod and spiderwort.