1606 N 600 Rd, Baldwin City, 66006
785.594.2966

big bluestem

Andropogon gerardii

Type:
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Hardiness:
Zone 4 – 9
Mature Height:
6-8’
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Water:
Bloom Time:
Foliage:

This colorful, robust hardy grass is native from Canada to Mexico. Tall foliage turns light red after frost. An excellent backdrop for shrubs and perennials, and also planted with tall flowering natives. Tough, self-sufficient big bluestem is justly famed for restoring damaged soil and compromised sites.

The caterpillars of several skippers feed on the foliage, including the Delaware Skipper, dusted Skipper, Leonard’s Skipper), cobweb Skipper, Ottoe Skipper, Indian Skipper), and Byssus Skipper. Big Bluestem is an important food plant of the short-winged Meadow Katydid and many leafhoppers. The seeds are eaten  by many songbirds, including field sparrows, tree sparrows, and chipping sparrows. The foliage is readily eaten by bison, cattle, and other livestock.