Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem, Turkey Foot

Big Bluestem is native to the tall-grass prairie habitat. Grown in ideal conditions, it provides an excellent tall screen or hedge. The characteristic three-pronged flowers are a wonderful addition to fresh and dried flower arrangements.

Grow on the lean side (ie. low nutrients and less water) to prevent it from flopping.

Andropogon means Man in Latin and gerardii is from the name of a French botanist.

Description: warm season; sod forming
Foliage blue-green; narrow to medium blade width; 100-200 cm (40-80") tall
Flowers August through Sept; 150-250 cm (60-100")

Ideal growing conditions: full sun to part shade; moist fertile soil; drought tolerant once established; thrives in both heavy and sandy soils.

Coldest zone: 4, possibly colder (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Season of interest: autumn

Partner with: Asters, Cosmos 'Bright Lights' (annual), Coreopsis tripteris

Recommended spacing between plants: 50-100 cm (20-40") why such a difference?

Drought tolerance rating: 2 (water to root depth once every 2 weeks); further info

Native to: prairies and open woods of temperate regions of North America (central Mexico to southern Canada). Please note that even though the map shows it as being found in many provinces of Canada, it does not mean that it is found in the entire province, rather this map indicates that it has been found growing in the provinces indicated, most likely only the southern part.

Pronunciation: Andropogon (an-droh-POH-gon) gerardii (jer-AR-dee-eye)

; group of 25 plugs


More ornamental grasses

Compare Andropogon gerardii to our other grasses in this handy chart.

Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem
Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem

More pics in the Grass Scapes Gallery

from the USDA website: states and provinces where Andropogon gerardii is native