Chalky bluestem
Andropogon virginicus var. glaucus
Poaceae


Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also provides a good base for wildflower gardens.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

An occasional understory grass in a wide variety of pinelands. Rarer in the southern part of peninsular South Florida in marl prairies.
Availability:
Grown by a few native plant nurseries in south and central Florida.
Description:
Medium to large herbaceous grass.
Height:
Typically 2-4 feet in height; to 6 feet when in flower. A clumping grass about as broad as tall except when flowering.
Growth Rate:
Fast.
Range:
Southern and eastern United States south to Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland, but very rare at the end of its range in the southernmost Florida counties. Not documented on barrier islands in South Florida, but possibly historically present; it grows well at Panís Garden in Palm Beach.
Habitats:
Pinelands and scrub.
Soils:
Moist to dry, well-drained sandy soils, without humus.
Nutritional Requirements:
Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun.
Flower Color:
Light brown inflorescence.
Flower Characteristics:
Semi-showy inflorescence.
Flowering Season:
Summer-fall.
Fruit:
Inconspicuous caryopsis.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Possible larval host plant for Delaware skipper (Anatrytone logan), Georgia satyr (Neonympha areolata), neamathla skipper (Nastra neamathla), swarthy skipper (Nastra lherminier) and twin-spot skipper (Oligoria maculata) butterflies. Attracts pollinators.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed.
Comments:
Attractive bluish-white leaves. Usually best cut back after flowering. Spreads from seed in the garden and can become weedy.


Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton
Susan Lerner, cultivated at Pan's Garden, Town of Palm Beach, Florida, USA.