Why plant Audubon® Native Indian Grass?
Indian Grass brings a touch of grandeur to your garden. Sporting a shock of stately plumes that rise from a thick tuft of blue-green foliage, this classic native Fringe makes a strong vertical statement in your landscape. Use it as a repeating element in a naturalistic prairie planting to add rhythm and structure to a mix of wildflowers. In fall and winter, the lofty spires of Indian Grass serve as perches for finches and sparrows, who graze on the seeds. In summer, songbirds forage among the leafy blades for grasshoppers and caterpillars to bring home to their hungry chicks. A bountiful, beneficial beauty!
A major component of the majestic tallgrass prairies that once covered the midwestern states, Indian Grass—along with Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, and Switch Grass—performed vital roles in the ecosystem. Besides serving as food for birds and insects, Indian Grass was prime forage for roaming herds of bison. Its roots also helped to bind the soil and prevent erosion (which was undone before the Dust Bowl). Though it’s most common to the Midwest, this prolific reseeder has established a native range stretching beyond the prairie states. It grows wild from Montana to Arizona and east to the East Coast.
How to use Audubon® Native Indian Grass in the landscape?
Another important function that Indian Grass performs is to provide habitat for birds that forage or nest on the ground. In rural areas, field sparrows, mourning doves, bobwhite quail, pheasants, and greater prairie chickens value its safe cover from predators.
Hardiness Zone: 4-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Indian Grass
Indian Grass is a bold plant for sunny, open spaces. It prefers deep, loamy soil of average moisture or a little on the dry side. Go easy on the irrigation once established and don’t overfertilize, as rich conditions may encourage floppy stems. With proper care, however, this species will hold itself upright well into winter. Cut stems down in early spring to make way for new growth. Indian Grass is a warm-season grower, so it takes a while to get started in the spring. It will quickly make up for lost time when the days heat up.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water very slowly and very thoroughly. The water needs to reach to the bottom of the root ball and that takes time. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
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 year. Continue this for three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Each fall, just before winter sets in clean up the previous years foliage and compost it. Be sure your perennials are mulched well for winter protection. Two inches of an organic mulch will do the job. Consider leaving the plant debris in place through the winter and doing your clean up on the weather warms in the spring. While it doesn't make things neat and tidy, the debris provides overwintering protection for insects, their eggs and pupae including our native Viceroy butterfly.