The Blues Little Bluestem Tree

Growth Facts

The Blues Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues'
This entertaining Fringe sings in hot, dry spots.

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Having the blues never felt so good! The Blues Little Bluestem will make beautiful music in your landscape. In spring, the intro sets the tone… cool blue blades arise, making a sharplyvertical impression. Planted en masse in your garden, this upright element creates a sense of rhythm. In early fall, the foliage strikes a new chord when it changes from sky-blue to raspberry-red. At the same time, wispy white flower plumes appear like high notes in a sweet melody. It’s a performance you’ll enjoy year after year, and you’ll have the best seat in the house!

Growth Facts

The Story

Little Bluestem belongs to the rich natural heritage of North America. This adaptable Fringe is native to southern Canada from Alberta to Quebec and to virtually all of the continental U.S. except for the West Coast. Its strongest association, however, is with the prairies. It once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other grasses and wildflowers in the vast tallgrass prairies that covered our nation’s heartland. On the southern plains, this plant had a special purpose for the Kiowa-Apache. It was gathered together to make switches used for driving the evil spirits out of people during sweat lodge ceremonies. The Blues Little Bluestem was introduced by Maryland nurseryman Kurt Bluemel.

The Details

Butterflies! When you think of butterfly-attracting plants, Fringes may not have a place on that list, but The Blues Little Bluestem actually makes a worthy addition to your butterfly garden. It serves as a host plant for several species of small skipper butterflies.

How to Grow

The Blues Little Bluestem responds well to tough love. Give it baking sun, fast-draining soil, little to no fertilizer, and little to no supplemental water once established. Take care to keep mulch away from the crown of the plant as well. This strict regimen will encourage strong, compact, self-supporting growth. More lush conditions will make this Fringe flop. Leave seedheads standing for winter interest and to feed the birds. In early spring, shear the stems back to a few inches from the ground to make way for new blue blades to emerge.

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


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The Blues Little Bluestem Tree