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Northern Plains Regional Reports

Native Ornamental Grasses for the Northern Plains

Add texture and structure to your garden beds and borders with these easy-care grasses

A mix of native ornamental grasses. Photo: Chris Schlenker

Native ornamental grasses have an important place in the prairie landscape of the Northern Plains, where at one time they formed the foundation of the North American Prairie. Capable of surviving years of drought and of floods, summers of extreme heat and winters of bitter cold, native grasses are adapted to our region, so you can rest assured that they will provide interest throughout the years with minimal maintenance. Consider adding one or more of these prairie native grasses to your garden, and let their unique textures and structures carry your landscape design well into fall and winter.

Big bluestem
Big bluestem can reach up to 7 feet tall. Photo: Chris Schlenker

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii, Zones 4–10) is a native North American prairie grass that forms 4- to 7-foot-tall clumps of silvery-blue foliage followed by purplish flower spikes in August and September. Big bluestem is capable of substantial growth in moist, fertile…

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