This large cosmopolitan genus gleans its name from the Greek word pogon, or beard, alluding to the lustrous hairs that blanket the inflorescences. Closely associated with Schizachyrium, 13 clump-forming warm season Andropogon hail from North America. Many of the garden-worthy Beardgrass are often drought tolerant, and generally characterized by attractive, easily grown sturdy demeanors, late summer blooms plus prismatic autumn color.
Historically renowned as the sod our ancestors broke their backs busting, Big Bluestem is the most widespread of all the prairie grasses. Its regal and wild color show makes it a must in our garden. Growing to great size, the stand’s lush, blue-blushed summer greenery becomes a burgundy and copper glory at first frost. Soaring three-pronged red seed heads beg its other common name, Turkeyfoot.
Reliable, heat tolerant and sturdy, Andropogon gerardii thrives in poorly drained clay to dry sandy soils, and easily transitions the outskirts of your garden into the wild meadow beyond.
Blooms late August–October.
Size: 5' 0" – 8' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 4.
Spotted near Crowley, Texas by John Snowden, acclaimed grass expert and Bluestem Nursery founder, this American native’s unwavering fortitude belies its graceful lush-looking silhouette. Thick, straight bluish mauve-hued stalks supporting slim, 3-pronged rubescent inflorescences emerge from large, upright ¼ in. wide powder-blue blades, which broadcast reddish purple, dusky pink, tangerine and copper tones in September. An undemanding color-rich candidate for dry sunny locales, ‘Lord Snowden’ can be massed or planted as a specimen, and associated with Astrantia ‘White Giant’ and Gaura ‘So White’.
Size: 5' 0" – 7' 0" high x 4' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 3.
This recent Intrinsic Perennial Garden introduction is quickly earning kudos for its spectacular shades of red and long-lived amenable character. August brings rich cardinal red accents to lush dark green blades that define a substantial straight-up clump, while unique threebranched inflorescences with bright red pollen sacs sway above. Strutting fiery scarlet-red and burgundy colors by the first frost, aptly named 'Red October' provides welcome cover for nesting birds and makes a galvanizing addition to a mixed planting, meadow garden or naturalized space. (PPAF)
Blooms July – October.
Size: 5' 0" – 6' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 3.