Prairie Dropseed Tree

Growth Facts

Prairie Dropseed

Sporobolus heterolepis
An elegant native Fringe—with a surprise!
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Fun and fancy! Prairie Dropseed is an underappreciated Fringe that manages to bring both sophistication and a touch of whimsy to your landscape. This exquisite native features fine, soft foliage on a compact, fountainlike form. Use it en masse as an easy, flowing groundcover or singly as a small-scale specimen. In late summer, airy plumes shoot up and dance above the glossy foliage. With the plumes comes a surprise—a scent that some compare to cilantro, others to popcorn! You’ll smirk as your guests look around for the source of the funny fragrance.

Growth Facts

The Story

Prairie Dropseed is a North American native that was once more plentiful, growing from Saskatchewan to Quebec in Canada and reaching as far south as Texas here in the U.S. It was most common as a component in the vast Midwestern prairies. Development has since wiped out most of our prairielands, and Prairie Dropseed is now endangered in many of the states where it once flourished. Support this noble native by growing it in your landscape. Prairie garden not required! This classy Fringe is polished enough for formal, manicured landscapes as well as more naturalistic ones.

The Details

In fall, Prairie Dropseed turns up the heat when its lustrous green foliage takes on bright golden and pumpkin-orange tones. Its winter color is a pleasing peachy tan. The plant holds up well under ice and snow and supplies plenty of interest during the dormant season.

How to Grow

Even novice gardeners are likely to have great success with Prairie Dropseed. Its easy to please, low maintenance, and long-lived. Give it a position in full sun if possible; light shade will also suffice. Any kid of soil is suitable—even clay, as long as it drains well. Provide regular water during establishment. Eventually, Prairie Dropseed will be exceedingly drought tolerant. Yearly maintenance involves simply cutting the old foliage to the ground in early spring. Understand that this fabulous Fringe does take a few years to really settle in, but its totally worth the wait!

Size Guide

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Prairie Dropseed Tree