Big Bluestem

Andropogon gerardii

Big Bluestem, Turkey Foot

About This Plant

Full sun or part shade; a majestic perennial, and one of the “big four” prairie grasses of the Texas savanna. Leaves and stems exhibit a range of colors: green, blue, red and purple, all on the same plant. Bunches of leaves grow up to 3 feet tall, with seed-heads up to 6 feet. Big bluestem makes a nice accent or specimen in the native landscape. It may be hard to find in nurseries, but live roots can be ordered on-line. It’s an excellent choice for rain gardens.

Origins: Eastern North America, from the Atlantic coast west to Arizona, Montana, Saskatchewan


Big bluestem requires little maintenance once established. Cut back old leaves when the plant is dormant in winter. If the plant outgrows your design, the clumps can be divided and distributed to other areas of the yard (or to friends who will thank you!)

An ornamental grass that hearkens back to the tallgrass prairie.

Min. Height: 2'

Max Height: 3 feet'

Min. Width: 2'

Max Width: 3 feet'

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