How to Grow Bushy Bluestem

Bushy blue stem in flower. image by Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS


Bushy bluestem, known botanically as andropogon glomeratus, is a perennial ornamental grass with dramatic silky fibrous flowers that is native to the state of Texas. It easily naturalizes in average quality soil that is moist to slightly wet at all times. Bushy bluestem flowers in the summer and fall and readily self-sows in the late fall and winter. It spreads by rhizomes in a clumping growth habit and can successfully be transplanted in large sections of soil and rhizome into new soil.

Step 1

Plant bushy bluestem in full sun to partial shade sunlight exposures. Filtered sunlight and light shade is well-tolerated, but full shade will stunt and thin growth and inhibit bloom. Provide a moderate-quality soil, as bush bluestem does not require rich soil. If soil quality is extremely poor, amend with compost to boost the nutrient level. No chemical fertilizers are needed for bluestem to thrive.

Step 2

Irrigate your bushy bluestem so that the soil is continuously moist. In its natural habitat bluestem receives heavy rains in spring and winter and will happily accommodate wet soil several seasons of the year. It cannot tolerate soil that dries out, so irrigate immediately if the soil ever feels even slightly dry to the touch.

Step 3

Transplant bushy bluestem by excavating large sections of grass tops, rhizomes and soil in the spring or early fall. Use clumps between 6 and 12 inches in diameter for the best results. Immediately place the excavated rhizome balls into moist, well-tilled and loosened soil. Maintain the same planting level in the soil as the clump enjoyed in its previous location and water in deeply until soaking. Place the excavated clumps at intervals of 15 to 18 inches, as bushy bluestem grows very slowly.

Step 4

Allow flowers to mature and desiccate on the stem during the summer and fall. As the flowers dry and shrivel in the late fall and winter, the seeds will be released down to the soil and into the wind and will easily germinate where they land on moist soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Rhizome clumps
  • Hand trowel


  • USDA Plant Database Profile
  • Andropogon Glomeratus - Bushy Bluestem
  • University of Maryland
Keywords: bushy bluestem, andropogon glomeratus, grow ornamental perennial grass

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.

Photo by: Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS