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Schizachyrium scoparium BLUE HEAVEN® (Little Bluestem)

Little Bluestem BLUE HEAVEN®, Blue Stem BLUE HEAVEN®, Prairie Beardgrass BLUE HEAVEN®, Prairie Beard Grass BLUE HEAVEN®, Schizachyrium scoparium 'MinnBlueA'

Schizachyrium scoparium Blue Heaven, Little Bluestem Blue Heaven, Blue Stem Blue Heaven, Broom Grass Blue Heaven, Native Grass
Schizachyrium scoparium Blue Heaven, Little Bluestem Blue Heaven, Blue Stem Blue Heaven, Broom Grass Blue Heaven, Native Grass

Schizachyrium scoparium BLUE HEAVEN® is a distinctive variety of Little Bluestem, a native North American prairie grass. This cultivar is particularly noted for its tall stature and beautiful seasonal color changes.

Schizachyrium scoparium BLUE HEAVEN®: An In-depth Look

BLUE HEAVEN® boasts a tall, upright growth habit and is known for its striking foliage that changes color with the seasons. It presents a neat, columnar appearance.

Native: This cultivar, like its parent species, is native to North America, flourishing in prairies and open woodlands.

Plant Type and Habit: It is a perennial grass characterized by its upright, clumping habit. This form makes it an excellent choice for adding vertical interest to gardens and landscapes.

Size: BLUE HEAVEN® can reach heights of 42-54 inches (105-135 cm) and spreads about 30-40 inches wide (75-100 cm), making it one of the taller cultivars of Little Bluestem.

Flowers: The plant produces small, airy flowers in late summer. These delicate blooms add a fine texture and subtle interest. The flowers mature into seed heads that provide winter interest and food for wildlife.

Bloom Time: Flowering occurs in late summer to early fall.

Foliage: The foliage is a standout feature for this ornamental grass, showcasing remarkable seasonal color changes. In spring and summer, the leaves exhibit a unique blue-green hue, providing a cool and refreshing look in the garden. This blue-green coloration is a distinctive trait of the BLUE HEAVEN® cultivar, setting it apart from other varieties of Little Bluestem.

As the seasons transition into autumn, the foliage undergoes a dramatic transformation. The leaves begin to change to a vibrant mix of purple, red, and orange hues. This autumnal color display is particularly striking, offering a warm and vivid contrast to the fading colors in the landscape. The intensity of these fall colors can vary depending on environmental conditions such as temperature and sunlight exposure, often becoming more pronounced with the onset of cooler weather.

This ability of BLUE HEAVEN® to shift from cool blue-green tones in the warmer months to fiery reds, purples, and oranges in the fall makes it highly valued for its seasonal interest. The linear, fine-textured leaves add not only color but also texture and movement to garden settings, making BLUE HEAVEN® a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a dynamic and visually appealing element to their landscapes.

Uses: Perfect for mass plantings, borders, and naturalistic landscapes. Its tall stature makes it excellent for use as a screen or backdrop in garden designs.

Hardiness: Little Bluestem is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9, showcasing its adaptability to a wide range of climates.

Wildlife: Little Bluestem acts as a larval host to nine skipper species, including the common wood nymph (Cercyonis pegala), Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae), Leonard’s skipper (Hesperia leonardus), and more. It also offers overwintering shelter for various insects and wildlife. Female bumblebee queens nest at the base of these grasses for protection until spring emergence. Its seeds are especially attractive to songbirds in the winter.

Toxicity: It is not known to be toxic to humans or pets, making it a safe choice for gardens.

Deer and Rabbit: This grass is generally resistant to deer and rabbits, which tend to avoid it due to its texture and taste.

Drought: Like other Little Bluestem varieties, BLUE HEAVEN® is highly drought-tolerant, making it a good choice for water-wise gardens.

Invasiveness: This cultivar is not considered invasive and is well-behaved in garden settings.

Benefits: It offers ecological benefits, such as providing food and habitat for wildlife, as well as aesthetic value with its changing foliage colors. Additionally, it’s a low-maintenance plant ideal for sustainable landscaping.

Little Bluestem Growing Tips

Light: Prefers full sun for optimal growth and color. Can tolerate partial shade but with reduced vigor and color intensity.

Soil: Adapts to a wide range of soil types but thrives best in well-drained soil. Tolerates poor soils and clay. It does not persist in highly fertile soils or moist conditions.

Water: Once established, it is highly drought-tolerant. Water regularly during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system, then reduce frequency.

Fertilizer: Generally does not require fertilization. If needed, apply a light amount of a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring.

Pruning: Cut back old foliage in late winter or early spring before new growth begins to maintain a tidy appearance.

Propagation: Easily propagated by seed in spring or by division in spring or fall. Self-seeds in favorable conditions.

Pests and Diseases: Generally pest-free. May occasionally be affected by rust or fungal spots in very humid conditions, but these are rarely serious.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Genus Schizachyrium
Common names Little Bluestem
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spacing 30" - 40"
(80cm - 100cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’ (Little Bluestem)
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Prairie Blues’ (Little Bluestem)
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Brush Strokes’ (Little Bluestem)
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Smoke Signal’ (Little Bluestem)
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Twilight Zone’ (Little Bluestem)
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Blue Paradise’ (Little Bluestem)

Recommended Companion Plants

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ (Witch Hazel)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (Aromatic Aster)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Genus Schizachyrium
Common names Little Bluestem
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spacing 30" - 40"
(80cm - 100cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Not sure which Schizachyrium (Little Bluestem) to pick?
Compare Now

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