Plant of the week

SCHIZACHYRIUM SCOPARIUM ‘BLAZE’ / LITTLE BLUESTEM ‘BLAZE’

PRAIRIEFORM loves plants that, when planted in a mass planting, can create swaths of color, movement, and form. Little Bluestem ‘Blaze’ is very much such a plant. A cultivar of the native prairie grass Schizachyrium Scoparium (LIttle Bluestem), we love it for its subtle color evolution as summer fades into fall and the grass flickers from green to blue-green to a rust-red to tawny gold. It is hyper cold-hardy (down to Zone 3), spectacularly drough-tolerant (in Minnesota, once established it really doesn’t need supplemental water save for the driest of dry years (and too much water will cause it to flop over); in Los Angeles, it will need a watering every couple of weeks in summer to keep it looking strong – but it could probably survive on less), clump-forming (won’t spread and take over your landscape), and it attracts many a bird to feast on its seeds in late summer and into fall. ‘Blaze’ is a warm-season grass and thus new growth won’t appear until temperatures warm up in late spring, at which point it should be cut back to an inch above the ground, to make way for a new season of growth.

LITTLE BLUESTEM ‘BLAZE’ PAIRED WITH FLOWERING PERENNIALS (from Grace Pete)

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