Andropogon gerardii – Big Bluestem

 Originally posted 5/2019

Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem (F,D,Md,A,N)

4-5ft w x 4-8 feet h. Native warm-season perennial clump grass. Found int both short and tall grass prairies. Grayish green stems in spring, turning a copper red in fall. drought tolerant. Base of plants are often purple. In the gardne bed it tends to flop, best to plant in closer proximity to other grasses or plants within 24.” Somewhat drought tolerant. Tri-branched seed heads appear in August looking like a turkey’s foot.

  • Blooms:  Early fall, late summer (F)
  • Moisture: Medium to Dry  (Md)
  • Soil Type: All soil types (A) Clay, loam or sand
  • Range: Native (N) – Found in taller prairies of Kansas and east.
  • Sun: Full sun

Family: Poaceae

2022 – Three year old Andropogon gerardii

In My Garden

I purchased 8 plants in 2019 for use in the Prairie garden. As of 2022 only 3 survive. They were intended to act a backdrop to the prairie plants but finding them lacking height. They flop over easily. As these plants have no bugs I look to invite to my prairie, I may replace them with more upright grasses.

Propagation by seed

Though they can be grown from seed I purchased small plants to start off the prairie. Purchased from Prairie Moon Nursery.

Role in Ecosystem

Foud in moist meadows and roadsides and rivers. Provide cover for birds and feed for deer.


praise of bluestems

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.