African Garden + winter

Schizachyrium 'Carousel', a better little bluestem
mood violet

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is an adaptable native grass that is perfect for small or large Midwestern gardens. I've grown the straight species for years. Last year I planted one Schizachyrium 'Carousel' that I received as a free* trial plant. It's a Chicagoland Grows introduction. After observing it in the garden for a year, I am impressed with this cultivar.

It sprouts with glaucous foliage that sets off any neighboring plants and remains that way all summer.

Schizachyrium 'Carousel' screening Baptisia 'Midnight Prairie Blues' in June

I planted it in front of a Baptisia under my first sculpture.

August 2010

It blooms in August.

Schizachyrium 'Carousel' in bloom

The flowers aren't as interesting as the seedheads.

Schizachyrium 'Carousel' seedheads

By October, it is at its showiest.

October 2010, without supplement watering

Unfortunately, last fall was unusually dry, but when there's adequate moisture, the fall foliage sings.

Schizachyrium 'Carousel' in fall color

The above photo has not been colored enhanced, that's how it looked in September 2009, with the foliage showing orange, red and purple. Compared with the straight species, it is shorter, much more colorful, and stands up slightly better in snow. By winter, the foliage has turned buff, and stands out well against the snow.

Schizachyrium scoparium 'Carousel' is suitable in zones 3-9, in full sun to part shade. It is drought tolerant, clump forming, and grows to 30" tall and wide. It's worth searching for and planting, for year 'round beauty.

*My evaluation of this plant has been in no way influenced by the fact that I didn't pay for it. I'd be willing to buy it, as it is, simply, a wonderful plant.

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Schizachyrium 'Carousel', a better little bluestem + winter