Broomsedge creates a striking background for flowers.
image by Forest Starr & Kim Starr/creative commons
Broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus L.) grows 4 to 6 feet tall, with shorter varieties reaching heights of 2 to 3 feet. These striking plants grow in clumps of upright green foliage that produces clusters of seeds along the stem. Fine hairs extend from the racemes, catching light and creating the characteristic broom appearance. Fall color varies from tawny brown to bronze and remains throughout the winter, making this plant an ideal plant for backgrounds or mass planting.
This drought-tolerant grass requires full sun. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9.
Prepare soil by cultivating lightly. Broomsedge bluestem will grow in nearly any soil as long as it is well drained. Add organic matter to improve drainage in wet areas.
Plant seeds when daytime temperatures average in the low to mid 60s. Broomsedge can be planted in late fall or early spring, but fall is preferred. Germination is increased if planted in the fall.
Sow to a depth of 1/4 to 3/4 inch and cover with soil. Water lightly. Space seeds 4 to 6 inches apart for dense clumps of broom sedge bluestem. Broadcasting seed and allowing it to grow naturally is often successful for commercial growers, but it does require more seed. If you choose to broadcast seed to create a mass planting of broom sedge, rake lightly with a garden rake after sowing to disperse seeds.
Keep soil moist until seedlings emerge, then reduce water. Bluestem is drought tolerant and seldom requires manual watering.