Chapter 3. Common Native Grasses of the Northern Midwest
Warm season; Perennial
Characteristics: 2–4’; upright; flowers purple; foliage blue-green; fall color; self-seeder
Growing Conditions: average to dry soils; full sun; hardy zones 3–8
Native in tall and shortgrass prairies, little bluestem can grow in a variety of soils, but prefers well-drained to upland. It is beautiful throughout the season, with typically blue-green summer foliage turning to red and orange in the fall.
- ‘Carousel’: a rainbow of colors in blue-gray, bowl-shaped, 30” foliage.
- Blue HeavenTM: University of Minnesota selection, upright blue foliage in summer, burgundy in late summer, red in fall, 3–4’.
- ‘Prairie Blues’: blue foliage, but can be very open and prostrate, 3–4’.
- ‘Standing Ovation’: Upright, blue-green turning orange, red, and yellow in the fall, 3–4’.
- ‘The Blues’: light blue foliage, but can easily lodge in rich soil, 3–4’.
Species that feed on little bluestem according to the literature are Oslar’s roadside skipper (Amblyscirtes oslari), Arogos skipper (Atrytone arogos), dusted skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna), common wood nymph (Cercyonis pegala), the elachistid moth (Cosmopterix callichalca), Assiniboia skipper (Hesperia assiniboia), Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae), Leonard’s skipper (Hesperia leonardus), Pawnee skipper (Hesperia leonardus pawnee), cobweb skipper (Hesperia metea), Ottoe skipper (Hesperia ottoe), Indian skipper (Hesperia sassacus), swarthy skipper (Nastra lherminier), Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek), crossline skipper (Polites origenes), and the gelechiid moth (Stereomita andropogonis).
A cultivar of a native plant.
The order that includes butterflies and moths.