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With its fountain-like appearance and long, airy seed heads, Prairie Dropseed is often regarded as the best-looking native grass. Not surprisingly, because of this, it is also one of the most often planted native grasses. Growing in medium moist to dry, gravelly soils, Prairie Dropseed ranges throughout the tallgrass prairie region.
Prairie dropseed is fairly short for a prairie grass, growing 2-3 feet tall and about as wide. Prairie dropseed is a warm season grass, growing quickly in May and June once the soils have warmed and blooming in mid to late summer. The fall color is an attractive light tan, emerging once the days become cooler in late September and the frosts begin to hit again.
NOW AVAILABLE! Sporobolus heterolepis 'tara'
Prairie dropseed is both useful and ornamental - The thick tufts make excellent cover for birds and small animals, while the grain-like seeds (These were actually made into a nutrient-rich flour by the American Indians) provide food through the fall and winter. Larger animals browse the plants, and it makes a decent hay on dry, infertile soils.
Prairie dropseed is an excellent garden plant, too, as mentioned above - It can be planted as individual clumps or as large, sweeping drifts. A pure stand of prairie dropseed on a hillside is an exceptionally beautiful sight!
Very hardy and adaptable, prairie dropseed is one of the few plants that actually prefer dry, gravelly soils! It does reasonably well in average garden soils, too, and can even tolerate heavy clay.
The main need is for full to partial sun - Make sure that the plants receive sun for at least 6 hours per day. Prairie dropseed can be used at woodland edges, where the forest transitions to sunnier open areas.
Plant prairie dropseed with about 3 feet of room for individual clumps, or space plugs 1-1/2 to 2 feet apart for a thick drift.
Our plugs are 2.25" rootmaker plugs, started this season - The Rootmaker plugs offer much quicker establishment due to root pruning than standard plugs. You can expect the plants to be thoroughly established after 2 weeks if moisture isn't lacking! Rootmaker plugs are perfect for less accessible areas because of this feature.
|Common Name:||Prairie Dropseed|
|Botanical Name:||Sporobolus heterolepis|
|USDA Hardiness Zones:||3-9|
|Flower Color:||White, Airy|
|Light Exposure:||Full Sun to Part Shade, Prairies & Meadows, Open Slopes|
|Soil Moisture:||Average to Dry|
|Soil Texture:||Heavy Clay to Sandy Loam; Shallow Rocky Soils|
|Soil PH:||Acidic to Neutral|
|Landscape Uses:||Accent Plant, Mass Planting, Restoration Plantings|
|Benefits:||Decorative, Drought-Tolerant, Rabbit Resistant|
|Ecological Function:||Larval Food Source, Seed, Forage, Shelter, Soil Stabilization|