Skip Navigation

Illinois Native Plant Guide - Little Bluestem - Pages 128-129

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Little Bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium (Andropogon scoparius)

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Dry to mesic prairie species. No inundation tolerance.

Wildlife Value

Palatable and nutritious for grazing species. Provides cover for grassland birds.


Branching, numerous vertical roots extending to a depth of 6 feet can stabilize upland slope buffers and generally will hold soil and prevent erosion wherever established.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Best by seed. No pretreatment of seed is necessary. Germinates in April when planted in the fall.
  • In mixed grass plantings use 75% Little Bluestem on dry, dry mesic, or mesic short grass plantings. Equal amounts of Side-oats Grama may also be used on dry mesic or dry areas.

Little Bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium (Andropogon scoparius)

Mature Height
2-3 feetLittle Bluestem

Plant Type
Perennial tufted grass

Indicator Status
Facultative Upland (-)

Wide range

Nutrient Load Tolerance

Salt Tolerance
Not available

Siltation Tolerance

Flowering Color and Time
August to September

Light Preference
Full sun

Seeding Rate
1 - 6 lbs/acre

The following document requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
npg_p128-129.pdf [PDF]