Festuca gautieri - Bearskin Fescue

aka Festuca scoparia

The pincushion-like foliage of this fescue looks right at home in the rock garden as well as with larger alpine plants. For best results grow F. gautieri away from overhanging plants and brush any leaves and needles off during the winter.

As you can see in the picture, it looks particularly nice snuggled up against large rocks.

Bearskin fescue, with its dark evergreen mounds makes an unusual textured ground cover.

Festuca gautieri likes gravelly soil in rock gardens and alpine troughs. Suitable for bonsai.

Description: cool season; clump forming
Foliage is green; densely tufted, needle-like and stiff; 5-15 cm (2-6") in height
Flowers in June; 15-30 cm (6-12") tall

Ideal conditions: full sun or part shade; well-drained soil; drought and heat tolerant.

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

Season of interest: year-round in warmer climates

Partner with: Sedums, Iris reticulata, Dwarf conifers, Draba

Recommended plant spacing: 15-30 cm (6-12") why such a difference?

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

Native to: the Pyrennes in Europe

Pronounciation: Festuca (fes-TOO-kah) gautieri (gow-tee-ERR-ee)


More ornamental grasses

Compare Festuca gautieri to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Festuca scoparia - Bearskin Fescue
Festuca gautieri - Bearskin Fescue
photographed at Elysium Nursery, Kelowna, BC, Canada