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Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation' (little bluestem)

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Culture Sheet

Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation' PP25202

little bluestem

A North Creek discovery sure to give a brilliant performance in the landscape, worthy of applause.  It keeps a tight, upright habit throughout the entire season and has stood strong even in the rich soils of our trial gardens. A warm season grass that does well in poor, dry soils.  Spikey bluish-green stems and leaves transition to a sizzling display of oranges, reds, yellows, and purplish-browns in the autumn.  Also provides winter interest before cutting back in early spring to make way for new growth.

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3-4 Feet


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 3-10

little bluestem Interesting Notes

Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation' is characterized by its wide leaf blades and its blue foliage with red tips throughout the growing season that change to red and maroon in fall with rich purple coloring at the base. It is upright and has a rigid habit that is retained without lodging when plants are grown in rich soils or during container production. Receiving top marks at the Landisville trials, ‘Standing Ovation’ grows 3’ tall in flower and 3’ wide when mature. Found in our trials at North Creek, ‘Standing Ovation’ is thought to be a naturally occurring seedling of Schizachyrium ‘Prairie Blues’.

Schizachyrium scoparium can be found in dry fields, prairies and woods from Maine to Alberta and Idaho, south to Florida and Arizona. Known for its low-maintenance, little bluestem does best in full sun and lean soils, anything from clay loam to sandy soils. It can self-seed but not prolifically. To maintain the best appearance, cut back to the ground in late winter or early spring before new growth emerges.

Native warm-season grasses such as little bluestem are essential larval plant food for several species of skippers as well as prairie walkingsticks, leafhoppers, and grasshoppers. The habitat provided by having such a rich diversity of insect life supports birds and other larger invertebrates. Bison, cattle, and other even-toed ungulates consume the foliage. S. scoparium can be used in restoration projects, prairies, borders, cottage gardens, and looks best in a group or mass.  

Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation' Growing and Maintenance Tips

Tolerant of a wide range of soils. Self seeds, though not prolifically. Cut to the ground in spring before new growth emerges. Best utilized as a vertical accent in perennial borders or as a screen.

Good Substitutions

little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Salt Tolerance
Salt Tolerance
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Green Roof
Lawn Alternative
Erosion Control
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Upland (FACU)
Plug Type
Horticultural Plug
Landscape Plug™
Native to North America
Clay Tolerance
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Propagation Type
Tissue culture
Grass Type
Warm Season