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Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Sorghastrum nutans


A vigorous native warm season grass with bluish green foliage turning a translucent yellow-deep gold fall color and bearing beautiful panicles of copper. Excellent for cut flowers.

Sorghastrum nutans LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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3-4 Feet


2-3 Feet


18 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 2-9

Indiangrass Interesting Notes

Yellow Indian grass is a tall, clump-forming and vigorous growing plant for the meadow garden. The blades are blue-green and culminate in a softly textured golden-brown seed heads atop 5-8’ tall plants. From August through October, it produces flowers and seedheads that appear golden in the sunlight. Sorghastrum nutans thrives in full sun with moist, rich, calcareous soils and is very drought resistant. It looks best when planted in masses or used as a vertical element in the mixed wildflower meadow with Schizachyrium scopariumAndropogon virginicus, Andropogon gerardiiAsclepias tuberosa, Rudbeckia fulgida and Echinacea purpurea. - Mt. Cuba Center

Indiangrass is recommended for use as an accent in landscapes where North American native species are preferred over exotic ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus, fountaingrass or pampas grass. Indiangrass is widely used in large scale roadside plantings and revegetation, prairie restoration, rangeland improvement, and erosion control projects since it grows well on disturbed sites and produces abundant seeds that are readily harvested and easily sown by hand or machine. When it is in active growth, Indian Grass makes a nutritious pasture grass rich in protein and vitamin A. The forage value of Indian Grass decreases rapidly later in the season however, and it is regarded as a low quality supplemental pasturage in the fall and winter. Indiangrass does not make very palatable hay and decreases in density if cut at the hay stage, so this use is not recommended.

Indiangrass is a wonderful drought resistant meadow grass that is a legitimate and desirable native component in most eastern North American grasslands. It may be grown intermixed with native cool season grasses as well as with comparably assertive wildflowers and warm season grasses. Indian Grass is an aggressive competitor. Don't plant it amongst fragile
wildflowers! Indian Grass attracts wildlife too. Bees come to the blossoms, songbirds and small mammals eat the seeds, and deer browse the foliage. It also provides excellent nesting sites and cover for pheasants, quail, mourning doves, and prairie chickens. (

Sorghastrum nutans Growing and Maintenance Tips

Can grow in a wide range of soils, but prefers rich, silty-loams in full sun. Tolerant of Drought, cold, acidity, salinity and heavy clay soils. Self seeds readily. Cut back to reduce spread by seed. Propagate by seed or division in spring. Best used as an accent, in naturalized meadow gardens, or in the perennial border. Also utilized for erosion control and restoration.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

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

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Green Infrastructure
Erosion Control
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated
Grass Type
Warm Season