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The Plant Guide

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Big bluestem, turkeyfoot

Andropogon gerardii 'Pawnee'

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‘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 CharacteristicsThis plant is drought tolerant once it's established. Attracts birds and butterfly larvae.

CarePlant in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil.

Propagation Divide in spring or sow seeds after danger of frost.

ProblemsThis grass doesn't care much for a lot of winter moisture, but other than that, problems are infrequent.

  • Genus : Andropogon
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Zones : 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Moisture : Dry to Medium
  • Bloom Time : Early Fall, Fall, Late Summer, Summer
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Fall Interest
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Plant Type : Grasses
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Foliage Color : Purple/Burgundy
  • Flower Color : Red
  • Characteristics : Showy Seed Heads
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