Splitbeard Bluestem


  • USDA Zones 6 to 10 (Find Your Zone)
  • 2 to 4 Feet Tall
  • Full Sun to Part Sun
  • Great for late summer and fall interest
  • Prefers well-drained sandy and infertile soils
  • Drought tolerant
  • Wildlife cover and forage for songbirds


Splitbeard Bluestem, Andropogon ternarius, is an oft overlooked native warm-season grass of the Southeast. Commonly found growing with Little Bluestem in areas with well-drained sandy soil, this stunning grass is noted for its silvery white seed tufts, which beautifully capture light, particularly when backlit by the sun. This perennial bunch grass reaches 2 – 4′ in height with 2′ spread at its basal mound, typical of our native bunch grasses. It grows best in full sun but tolerates some shade, and prefers well-drained soils with low fertility. Whether incorporated as an ornamental in cottage gardens, woodland areas, or restoration of disturbed sites, Splitbeard Bluestem is a wonderful addition to any landscape.
Photo: NC State Extension Plant Toolbox

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