Big bluestem is an rugged, clump-forming perennial grass that makes a dense clump of leaves and tall flower stalks topped with distinctive seedheads in autumn. Native to a vast range across North America, from southern Canada to northern Mexico, it has become quite rare in the western United States.
The blue-green stems and green leaves are relatively short throughout the summer, but with the onset of fall, the stems lengthen as the flowers emerge. Silvery-red or red-purple in color, the tiny flowers form a turkey foot-like raceme, three short stems branching from the tip of the main stem. Autumnal frosts and sunshine turn the entire plant rich tints of beige, bronze and red. This grass provides important cover, nesting and seeds for dozens of songbirds, including wrens, meadowlarks and sparrows. Skipper butterflies also lay their eggs on the grass's leaves. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Andropogon
Species - Gerardii
Common name - Big Bluestem
Pre-Treatment - Required, (long term germination)
Hardiness zones - 2 - 7
Height - 1,20 - 2,40 m
Spread - 0,60 - 0,90 m
Plant type - Decorative Perennial Grass
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Loam, Sand
Water requirements - Drought Tolerant, Average Water
Care level - Easy
Landscape uses - Cutflower, Dried Flower/Everlasting, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Wildflower
Germination rate - 60%
Bloom season - Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall
Leaf / Flower color - Green, Blue Green, autumn - Burgundy, Bronze / Red, Purple, Violet, Silver
|Germination||Seeds have an internal dormancy that can be overcome by a moist, chilling period. This treatment is called stratification. Here are the steps to stratify the seeds:|
1. Place the seeds in a moist material such as milled sphagnum peat, sterile soil or vermiculite. Also moist napkin can be used
2. Refrigerate the seeds for 4-6 weeks at 33 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit (+2 – +4C).
3. After the seeds are stratified, sow on surface, tamp the soil, cover with glass or plastic and keep the container moist, but not soggy. Seeds should germinate in 3 to 4 weeks at room tempearture bottomheat.
4. As soon as the seeds germinate, place them under bright lights or move them to a greenhouse or cold frame.
Seeds can be sown directly outside from late winter to early spring. Emergence will occur in 4 weeks with several irrigations. Plants will be ready for harvest in mid-summer to late fall.
First-season growth is often slow. Rhizomatic regeneration in following years increases the growth rate.