- Hardiness Zone: 4-9
- Mature Height: 5-8' tall
- Mature Width: 2-3' wide
- Exposure: Full Sun
- Spacing: 2-3' apart
- May Benefit & Attract: Sparrows and songbirds
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow.
- This bird-friendly native trees provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- All Audubon® branded trees are grown 100% Neonic-free by Bower & Branch, making these plants safer for the birds and safer for the environment.
- Hand Selected, Fresh from the Grower
- Ships in a plant-safe designed box
Why the Audubon® Big Bluestem?
For those looking to recreate an authentic tallgrass-prairie ecosystem on their property, here is your key plant. Big Bluestem is a stately native Fringe that epitomizes the prairie aesthetic while also benefiting wildlife. The foliage feeds a variety of skipper butterfly larva, which in turn—along with katydids and leafhoppers that munch on the foliage—feed insectivorous songbirds. In fall and winter, several species of sparrows consume the seeds, and in rural areas on the Great Plains, prairie chickens eat them, too. The dense clumps of foliage also serve as good cover and nesting sites for ground-dwelling birds.
Before the Midwestern landscape was covered with condos and cornfields, Big Bluestem grew wild all over our nation’s heartland. It was an important component of the American tallgrass prairie, its deep, fibrous roots (they can go down ten feet!) binding and enriching the soil and its soaring plumes standing shoulder-to-shoulder with native wildflowers. Besides benefitting birds, butterflies, and countless other animals, this dominant prairie grass also once served as a favorite fodder for roaming herds of bison. Today, cattle ranchers call it “ice cream for cows.” Here’s hoping you don’t have livestock grazing your garden!
How to use in the landscape?
Big Bluestem sometimes goes by the nickname “Turkey Toes,” because the plumes end in three-parted seedheads that look like turkey feet. The delicate plumes catch the light in magical ways. Plant Big Bluestem where the sun will shine through it in the evening and treat yourself to a dazzling late summer scene as you relax on your porch or patio.
Why Bower & Branch?
We do the hard part. Our trees and plants are grown and cared for by only the best, local growers for years before they find their forever home in your landscape. Bower & Branch is known for having hard-to-find, substantial sizes and selection. The quality of our trees and plants are consistent in health and vigor—always ready for immediate impact in your garden and instant curb appeal. We believe in empowering homeowners with the truth about strong, healthy and structurally sound plants that are grown to perform in the ground after they leave the nursery for home delivery, always fresh inventory from the grower
Audubon is devoted to protecting birds and the places they need, while Bower & Branch is devoted to the growth of true native trees and plants–no cultivars or hybrids. Together, we strive to unite communities in conservation and inspire individuals to cultivate a better world for birds starting in their own backyards, balconies, or patios. By guiding and recommending trees and plants truly native and beneficial to your region, we can really start to make a difference.
What is the definition of Native?
“In the United States, a native plant is defined as one that was naturally found in a particular area before European colonization. Native plants are the foundation of a region’s biodiversity, providing essential food sources and shelter for birds, especially those threatened by the changing climate. Since native plants are adapted to local precipitation and soil conditions, they generally require less upkeep, therefore helping the environment and saving you time, water, and money.” – The National Audubon Society
Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program.
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
Hardiness Zone: 4-9
Mature Height: 5-8' tall
Mature Width: 2-3' wide
Exposure: Full Sun
Spacing: 2-3' apart
How To Plant
All-day sun is a must for Big Bluestem. It tends to get floppy in low-light conditions. This adaptable Fringe is suitable for dry or moist (not wet) soils. It’s long-lived, easy to grow, and not affected by any major insect pests or diseases. It thrives in hot-summer climates, but it also withstands temperatures down to -40ºF in winter! Leave the plant standing for winter interest, cutting it back to the ground in early spring. Big Bluestem is a warm-season grower, which means that it needs some heat in order to break dormancy in spring. Be patient.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
Hardiness Zone: 4-9