All Types of Prairie Grass

Conjuring up images of simpler, less industrial times when the world was a little bit greener, prairie grasses are often used to restore disturbed land to their former natural beauty. There are a number of types of prairie grass that will reach tall heights, densely growing in a variety of soils.

Big Bluestem

Native to much of North America, big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) was once the dominant prairie grass of the Great Plains. The plant has distinct branches with a "turkey-foot" shape and reddish green foliage. The bunching perennial is quite hardy and can reach up to 10 feet if it is grown in the right conditions. Big bluestem grows best in full sunlight, in just about any type of soil, including clays. Although the grass is drought-tolerant, it will look healthier if watered regularly.

Mexican Feather Grass

Native to dry prairies throughout the American Southwest and Central Mexico, Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima) is a clumping ornamental grass cultivated for its extremely thin silvery green blades. Perfect for bringing movement to a garden, Mexican feather grass moves in the most delicate breeze. Mexican feather grass is a low-maintenance plant that will grow in almost any soil type that's well-drained. The drought-tolerant grass prefers full sunlight, though it will tolerate partial shade.


Native to North America, Southern Canada and parts of Mexico, Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) is a tall, bunching prairie grass that produces golden flowering plumes in the summer time. The grass grows easily on disturbed soils and often can be seen thriving along roadsides. The grass will tolerate sandy, clay and limey soils, though it will look healthiest in rich soils. Indiangrass prefers full sunlight but tolerates some shade.

Keywords: prairie grass, grass types, long grass

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.