Big bluestem, turkeyfoot

Andropogon gerardii 'Pawnee'

Photo/Illustration: 
Scott Vogt
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Big bluestem, turkeyfoot (Andropogon gerardii 'Pawnee')
an-dro-PO-gon jer-AR-dee-eye
Genus:  Andropogon
'Pawnee' has an upright habit and warm fall colors that persist into winter. This refined offbig bluestem has the bluish purple stems typical of the genus. In late summer, Purplish red flowers appear in groups of three or six, which look like a turkey foot—hence the nickname: "Turkey Foot Grass." The root system that can extend down more than 10 feet. Each year, a third of these roots die, opening up channels for water. -Scott Vogt, Native grasses, Fine Gardening issue #124
Noteworthy Characteristics:  This plant is drought tolerant once it's established. Attracts birds and butterfly larvae.
Care:  Plant in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil.
Propagation:   Divide in spring or sow seeds after danger of frost.
Problems:  This grass doesn't care much for a lot of winter moisture, but other than that, problems are infrequent.

Overview

Height
3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit
Clumps
Growth Pace
Moderate Grower
Light
Full Sun Only
Moisture
Dry to Medium
Maintenance
Moderate
Characteristics
Showy Seed Heads
Bloom Time
Early Fall,
Fall,
Late Summer,
Summer
Flower Color
Purple/Lavender Flower,
Red Flower
Foliage Color
Colorful/Burgundy Foliage
Uses
Screening
Style
Beds and Borders,
Meadow Garden
Seasonal Interest
Fall Interest
Type
Grasses

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