How to Care for Blue Fescue


Blue fescue (Festuca glauca) is commonly referred to as Elijah blue, garden fescue, gray fescue or sheep's fescue. This ornamental grass is a cool-season, clump-forming grass that grows well (up to 10 inches tall) in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8, according to the University of Illinois. Blue fescue is grown for the blue-green foliage, and planted as an accent plant or ground cover. Caring for blue fescue starts at planting.

Step 1

Select locations to plant blue fescue providing full sun to partial shade, in addition to sandy, well-draining soil. Allow enough space for the mature blue fescue, which could be 10 inches tall and wide.

Step 2

Dig a hole the same depth and twice the width of the container holding the blue fescue. Place the blue fescue in the hole, and backfill with removed dirt. Drench with water to remove any air pockets in the soil.

Step 3

Add a layer of garden gravel around the base of each blue fescue as suggested by the University of Illinois. Or add a layer of mulch, if you prefer to prevent weeds and cool the soil.

Step 4

Water the blue fescue weekly for the first month after planting. Check the top 1 to 2 inches of soil after that, and water when dry. The amount of water required will vary, depending on soil, climate and plant size. Supplying 1 inch of water weekly, when rainfall does not is a common practice during the growing season.

Step 5

Cut the blue fescue back by one-third at the beginning of spring to make room for new growth. Prune the flowers that emerge during the summer to encourage growth in the foliage, if desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Garden gravel
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Illinois: Ornamental Grass: Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca)
  • North Carolina University: Blue fescue
  • Floridata: Festuca glauca

Who Can Help

  • Ohio State University: Festuca glauca-Blue Fescue
  • University of Vermont: Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue'
Keywords: Festuca glauca, Elijah blue, plant blue fescue

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.