Perennial Plant of the Year for 2022 – Easy Care, Little Bluestem Ornamental Grass


There are many cultivars of Little Bluestem. This one is Prairie Winds ‘Blue Paradise’ . Photo courtesy of Proven Winners

The Perennial Plant Association (PPA) selects a different plant each year based on meeting certain criteria, including low maintenance needs, adaptability to a wide range of climates, pest and disease resistance, multiple seasons of interest and ease of propagation.   The 2022 pick is Little Bluestem., a North American Native.  The past winners can be seen hereAnd you can also read our blog on the Perennial Plant for 2021 here.

Little Bluestem is a spiky, tough and dependable grass that works well in many conditions with varied plantings.  The Latin Name is Schizachyrium scoparium.

Features of Little Bluestem

Description:   Densely mounded and upright, Little Bluestem reaches a height of 3-4 feet by autumn and spreads 18-24 inches.  The hardiness zone is 3-8 and is considered a slow grower.   It puts on three seasons of color.  It starts bluish, with a deeper purple tone towards the base in summer.  Small, tan seed heads also appear in late summer.  Then it turns a striking reddish-bronze in late summer and fall.

Needs:  This plant is easy care, unfussy, and beautiful!  It likes full sun for upright growth and does well in a wide range of soils.   It’s especially handy for soils that dry out quickly, because it is drought tolerant.  Shade, excess fertility, and too much moisture will all contribute to lax, floppy growth.

Uses:  Little Bluestem is perfect for banks, slopes, prairies, pollinator gardens and mixed plantings.   Also looks good in a container.   Its foliage adds longer lines in a flower arrangement.  It has high ecological value and low maintenance needs.    It gives food, shelter, and nesting material to wildlife and attracts birds and pollinators.

Maintenance:  It’s tough, adaptable and drought tolerant.  Looks best when cut back in late winter or early spring, allowing new leaf blades to fill in.  It’s really an easy care plant!

Unique Qualities:  Doesn’t flop over, and is deer resistant.  A deer may eat most anything if hungry enough, but this plant is seldom bothered by browsing dear.  Its ecological benefits are great by being a good pollinator plant.  No serious pest or disease problems.

There aren’t a lot of plants that can do it all such as pleasing the pollinators, birds and discourage deer.  You can enjoy this plant throughout the seasons without a lot of fuss.

If you would like to know more about low-maintenance perennials like Little Bluestem or discuss what shrubs and flowers would work best within your landscape, then contact Whitehouse LandscapingOur design experience and horticultural knowledge in landscaping and hardscaping can create an outdoor space that is peaceful, distinctive, livable and truly sustainable.

CONTACT US on our website or call 484-300-4290.