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Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’ (Little Bluestem)

Little Bluestem 'Standing Ovation', Blue Stem 'Standing Ovation', Prairie Beardgrass 'Standing Ovation', Prairie Beard Grass 'Standing Ovation'

Schizachyrium scoparium Standing Ovation, Little Bluestem Standing Ovation, Blue Stem Standing Ovation, Broom Grass Standing Ovation, Native Grass

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’ is a vibrant cultivar of Little Bluestem, boasting blue-green summer foliage that transforms into stunning shades of purple, orange, and red in fall. Valued for its robust growth habit, this ornamental grass adds visual interest to a variety of landscapes and gardens.

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’: An In-depth Look

‘Standing Ovation’ features a blend of blue, purple, and green hues in its foliage during the growing season, transitioning to a display of oranges, reds, and purples in the fall. Its upright growth habit and fine-textured foliage make it a visually appealing addition to any garden.

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

Plant Type and Habit: It is a perennial grass known for its upright, clumping growth habit, which makes it ideal for adding structure to garden designs.

Size: Little Bluestem typically grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet (60-120 cm) and can spread about 1.5 to 2 feet wide (45-60 cm). This size makes it suitable for both small gardens and larger landscapes.

Flowers: The grass produces small, airy flowers. They are less noticeable than the striking foliage but add a delicate texture to the plant. The flowers mature into small seed heads that persist through the winter, providing interest in the colder months.

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

Foliage: The foliage is the standout feature, with a unique blend of colors throughout the seasons. In the summer, the leaves display a unique blend of blue and green hues, which add a cool and soothing tone to the landscape. As the seasons transition into autumn, the foliage undergoes a dramatic transformation, displaying a vibrant array of colors ranging from deep purples to rich oranges and reds. This striking fall coloration makes ‘Standing Ovation’ a standout in the garden, providing a vivid display of warm colors that contrast beautifully with the cooler tones of other plants. The fine, linear leaves contribute to the plant’s overall texture, adding visual interest and movement to the garden. This dynamic color shift from cool summer tones to warm autumn hues is a defining characteristic of the ‘Standing Ovation’ cultivar, making it a popular choice for adding seasonal interest to landscapes.

Uses: Little Bluestem is used for natural landscaping, erosion control on banks and slopes, and as a component in wildflower gardens and prairie restorations. It’s also popular in ornamental gardens for its seasonal color changes. Excellent choice for drought-prone areas, this architectural grass is perfect for beds and borders, rock gardens, and city or cottage gardens.

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: Little Bluestem is highly drought-tolerant once established, making it an excellent choice for xeriscaping and water-conserving landscapes.

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

Benefits: It is valued for its low maintenance requirements, drought tolerance, and ability to thrive in poor soils. Its ecological benefits include providing habitat and food for wildlife, as well as stabilizing soil.

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 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" - 24"
(50cm - 60cm)
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 City and Courtyard, Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden
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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 BLUE HEAVEN® (Little Bluestem)
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Smoke Signal’ (Little Bluestem)
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Twilight Zone’ (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 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" - 24"
(50cm - 60cm)
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 City and Courtyard, Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Not sure which Schizachyrium (Little Bluestem) to pick?
Compare Now

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