The ‘Standing Ovation’ cultivar of Schizachyrium scoparium, also known as Little Bluestem, is an absolute favorite native warm-season grass at Camp Creek Natives. Tolerating a wide range of soil conditions, it is easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun, performing well in poor soils, including clay and occasional wet inundation. Conversely it thrives in drought conditions, high heat and humidity once established. The ‘Standing Ovation’ cultivar features blue leaf blades with red tips, maturing at 2-4′ and featuring upright clumps of slender, flat, linear green leaves (1/4″ wide) with a tinge of blue at the base. Purplish-bronze flowers appear in August and persist through February, with an outstanding ornamental feature of a bronze-orange fall foliage.
Native warm-season grasses such as little bluestem are essential larval plant food for several species of skippers as well as prairie walkingsticks, leafhoppers, and grasshoppers. The habitat provided by having such a rich diversity of insect life supports birds and other larger invertebrates. Bison, cattle, and other even-toed ungulates consume the foliage. S. scoparium can be used in restoration projects, prairies, borders, cottage gardens, and looks best in a group or mass.
Photo: NorthCreek Nurseries