Big Bluestem, Turkey Foot (Andropogon gerardii)-Hort Answers - University of Illinois Extension
University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension

Hort Answers

Ornamental Grass

Big Bluestem, Turkey Foot
Andropogon gerardii

Big Bluestem <em>Andropogon gerardii</em>
Big Bluestem Andropogon gerardii

A clumping grass with an upright habit that can grow to 10 feet tall. Foliage ranges from blue green to silver blue. Purple flower spikes appear in August and September. Good fall color in the bronze tones. This is a running, warm season grass that spreads by short rhizomes.

Grows best in full sun and fertile, moist well drained soil. Needs good drainage and once established can survive hot, dry sites. Under dry conditions it will be shorter. Cut back in spring before new growth starts. 

'Silver Sunrise'
5-6 foot tall, blue-green foliage with contrasting yellow band, turning rich purple in fall.

5-6 foot tall, blue-green foliage turning light red in fall.

Mature Height
4-7 Feet (Under optimum growing conditons can grow to 10 feet)
USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 9 
Soil Conditions
Moist, Well-Drained
Exposure/Light Requirements
Full Sun
Foliage Color
Pests and Problems

Environmental Damage

Additional Notes
  • Useful as a tall background plant, specimen plant or used as a screen.
  • Use in mass planting or naturalized areas.
  • A native grass and Illinois state grass.


Related Resources
Home, Yard & Garden Pest Guide
Illinois Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Handbook
U of IL - Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging
U of IL - Plant Clinic