Indian grass is one of the grasses of the tallgrass prairie and is native to much of North America. It is a warm season, clumping grass. Flowering occurs in late summer but the plant remains attractive into winter. "This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Mixed border
- Large plant (more than 24 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Size and Form
Indian grass can grow as tall as 8 feet, but 6 feet is more common in cultivation. It is a warm season, clumping grass with an upright habit.
Full sun and well drained soils are best for this grass. It can tolerate wet sites as well as sandy soils. Fairly drought tolerant once established.
This is a warm season grass, so its most active growth occurs in summer. It will remain standing in winter and can act as winter interest.
Since this grass remains attractive through winter, it should not be cut back until early spring, before new growth begins. At that time, it can be cut down to the ground.
Disease, pests, and problems
No common pest problems. Indian grass can reseed itself and made lead to excess unwanted plants.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to most of North America.
The green leaves are up to 2 feet long and 1/4 inch wide. Fall color can vary from yellow to orange.
Flowering occurs in late summer. The tiny, yellow to bronze-colored flowers occur on moderately dense clusters held above the foliage. The flowers are wind pollinated.
The small fruit (caryopsis or grains) form along the clusters that held the flowers.
Cultivars and their differences
“These plants are cultivars of a species that is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits."
Sioux Blue (Sorghastrum nutans 'Sioux Blue'): Blue-gray foliage; fall color is yellow changing to orange.