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Perennials: Native Prairie Grasses for the Landscape

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From turf to tall, August is all about grasses. This month, our blog will feature posts on every type of grass, including lawn care, lawn seed and of course, gorgeous perennial grasses. More and more frequently homeowners are turning to natives in the landscape. These hardy plants are natural companions to our tough winters and often require much less maintenance. Many of the native perennials we recommend are prairie grasses. Take a look at our favorites below.

The world of perennial grasses is deep and varied. From tall to short, soft to prickly, there is a color and size for every need. Native perennials are becoming more and more popular due to their long term sustainability.

Name

Height

Description

Special Uses

Andropogon                                Big Bluestem

7'

Green foliage that turns scarlet red in fall.  Three pronged red plumes in late summer.

NATIVE.  A colorful native prairie grass. Looks like our Chicaog Blackhawks colors!

Panicum 'Heavy Metal'              Switch Grass

3-4'

Metallic blue foliage turns bright yellow in the fall.  Beautiful airy seed heads.

NATIVE.  Drought and salt tolerant. 

Chasmanthium                             Northern Sea Oats

3'

Oat-like seed heads hang from arching stems and "shiver" in the slightest breeze. 

NATIVE.  Loves moist soil and tolerates some shade. 

Panicum 'Shenandoah'                Switch Grass

3'

Blue green foliage turns maroon-red starting in June.  A cloud of pink-red seeds hover over the foliage in September.

NATIVE. Drought and salt tolerant. 

Schizachyrium                        Little Bluestem

2-3'

Exceptional silvery blue foliage with fall color ranging from red-orange to purple.  Four seasons of interest!

NATIVE.  Very hardy, drought tolerant grass. This grass gets a standing ovation because it won't flop over!

Sporobolus                                      Prairie Dropseed

2-3'

A very fine textured grass with arching airy seed heats turning bronze in fall.

NATIVE.  Interplant with perennials for texture contrast.

Bouteloua 'Blonde Ambition'     Grama Grass

2-3'

Fine textured blue-green foliage with blonde seed heads held horizontally off the stems from midsummer thru fall.

NATIVE.  Very hardy, drought tolerant grass.

Eragrostis spectabilis                  Purple Love Grass

12", 18" in bloom

Short native grass with airy pink-red flowers Aug.-Sept. 

NATIVE.  Absolutely beautiful mixed with perennials. 

Imperata 'Red Baron'                    Japanese Blood Grass

12-18"

Upright, bright red foliage summer thru fall.

NATIVE. Prefers moist soil.

Curex pensylvanica                     Pennsylvania Sedge

6-12"

A fine, textured, low growing groundcover sedge commonly found in meadows and forest understories

NATIVE. SHADE. Prefers rich, moist soil but drought resistant once established.

Native perennials add color to your landscape all year long and attract beneficial insects, including butterflies. Learn more about the best native perennials for butterfly gardening here.

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