Prairie dropseed is a perennial, warm season grass which produces a mophead of emerald green, hair-like foliage accompanied by tall airy stems of fragrant pink flowers in late summer. It is native to the prairies and grasslands of central North America from southern Canada to Texas.
The long, narrow blades of this clump-forming grass form an arching fountain of foliage which often curls as its ends sweep the ground. The leaves are scented when crushed. In late summer, tall stems bear airy panicles of tiny, pink, fragrant flowers which catch the light beautifully when backlit. These give way to small, tan seeds that drop to the ground in autumn (hence, the plant’s common name). The foliage becomes golden yellow with hints of orange in fall, and turns light bronze and tan in winter.
This grass grows well in full sun to light shade, and is adaptable to a wide range of conditions. Average, moist garden soils are fine, as are hot, dry, exposed sites such as roadside verges, hillsides, or parking median strips. Prairie dropseed is somewhat slow-growing, but well worth the wait. It is particularly handsome grown in huge masses as a groundcover, and also works well in meadow gardens or mixed borders. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Sporobolus
Species - Heterolepis
Common name - Prairie Dropseed
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Hardiness zones - 3 - 8
Height - 18"-36" / 45.7cm - 90cm
Spread - 20"-24" / 50.8cm - 60cm
Plant type - Grass
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Sand
Water requirements - Drought Tolerant, Average Water
Care level - Easy
Landscape uses - Container, Edging, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Wildflower
Germination rate - 86%
Bloom season - Late Summer
Leaf / Flower color - Green, autumn - Yellow, Orange, Gold / Pink
|Germination||1. Sow seeds indoors to produce plants large enough to move outdoors in specific locations after frost. Fill a seed flat with 2 parts potting soil and 1 part perlite. Mist the flat until it is evenly moist.|
2. Sow the seeds half an inch apart on the surface of the soil mixture. Mist lightly and place the lid on the flat. Place the flat in a light room where the temperatures is at least 68 F. Mist the flat every couple of days or as the top 1 to 2 inches of soil feels dry. Remove the lid for one hour per day to prevent mold.
3. Check the flat daily after the first week to look for germination. Sprouting usually occurs within two weeks, at which point you can grow the grasses without the lid. Thin the grasses to two inches apart and allow them to fill in until they are 3 to 4 inches high. Transplant them after the danger of frost has passed.
4. Plant the blue fescue seed outside after the danger of frost has passed in your zone. Prepare a garden bed by tilling in 5 inches of compost and 1 to 2 inches of sand. Remove weeds, rocks and roots, and rake the bed smooth.
5. Use the rake to create trenches in the soil of the planting bed. Plant the seed in the trenches and then run the back of the rake over the bed to knock a fine layer of soil onto the seeds to prevent the wind from taking them. Water the bed until it is damp 3 to 5 inches under the surface. Use a finger or dig a little trench to make sure the bed is damp enough.
6. Mist the bed daily in the morning or afternoon. On very sunny days, you may have to do both to keep the seeds from drying out. Blue fescue does not germinate if the temperature falls below 65 F or if the seed dries out.
7. Thin the sprouted seeds if necessary, continue watering and keep weeds out of the bed. If you want to transplant the seedlings, do so once they are 3 to 4 inches high.
Information source: eHow.com