Alphabetical Plant Listing

Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed)

Prairie Dropseed, Prairie Drop Seed


Favored by landscapers for its tendency to grow in decorative bunches, Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed) is a fine-textured ornamental grass with long, narrow arching leaves forming attractive round tufts about 18 in. tall. The leaves range in color from a rich green hue in summer to golden with orange hues in the fall and fades to light bronze in winter. Foliage is resilient enough to resist flattening by snow, so it provides year-round interest. From late July to mid-September, cloudy haze of tiny flower heads, noted for their unique coriander fragrance, elegantly rise up to 36 in. tall on slender stems. The small mature seeds drop to the ground in the fall, hence its common name of 'Dropseed'.

  • Excellent choice for drought-prone gardens, this architectural grass is perfect for borders where it will easily combine with other plants, rock gardens, prairie plantings or as groundcover.
  • Slowly grows in a dense clump about 2-3 ft. tall and across (60-90 cm), it enjoys full sun and average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils. This plant is not fussy about soils and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, including heavy clay. Dry, rocky soils are preferred though.
  • Drought tolerant, it requires very little care, is virtually disease-free, pest-free and provides weeks of interest from summer to frost
  • May be grown from seed but does not freely self-seed.

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Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 9
Heat Zones 2 – 10
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Ground Covers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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Photos: Chanticleer Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden

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.


Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 9
Heat Zones 2 – 10
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Ground Covers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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