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Andropogon gerardii 'Pawnee' (Big bluestem, turkeyfoot)

Andropogon gerardii ‘Pawnee’ Photo/Illustration: Scott Vogt


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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Botanical Name: Andropogon gerardii 'Pawnee' an-dro-PO-gon jer-AR-dee-eye Common Name: Big bluestem, turkeyfoot 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.
Height 3 ft. to 6 ft.;6 ft. to 10 ft.
Spread 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit Clumps
Growth Pace Moderate Grower
Light Full Sun Only
Moisture Dry to Medium;Medium Moisture
Maintenance Moderate
Characteristics Showy Seed Heads
Bloom Time Early Fall; Fall; Late Summer; Summer
Foliage Color Colorful/Burgundy Foliage
Flower Color Purple/ Lavender Flower; Red Flower
Uses Screening
Style Beds and Borders, Meadow Garden
Seasonal Interest Winter Interest, Fall Interest
Type Grasses,Natives

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