Caucasian Bluestem (Bladhii) is generally described as
a perennial graminoid.
not native to the U.S. (United States)
and has its most active growth period in the
The greatest bloom is usually observed in the
with fruit and seed production starting in the
summer and continuing until
not retained year to year.
Caucasian Bluestem (Bladhii) has a
moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a
rapid growth rate.
At maturity, the typical
Caucasian Bluestem (Bladhii) will reach up to
3 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of
Caucasian Bluestem (Bladhii) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by
It has a
rapid ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have
Note that cold stratification is
not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below
high tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.
Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.
Caucasian bluestem is sometimes used as a critical area cover plant due to its ability to grow on droughty, acid, sterile sites. It should be used in mixtures with native warm season grasses because it is not a particularly valuable wildlife plant. This plant is not reliably hardy north of the PA-NY border. Though used for forage in the southern Midwest, the quality is not high enough to use it in this way in the Northeast.
Caucasian bluestem has dense blue-green leaves and thin stems with purple tinges at the nodes. It typically grows to 3-4 feet in height. The seed head is a terminal group of spike-like stalks that come from a common point. The most memorable characteristic is the sweet, distinctive odor of the foliage.
Required Growing Conditions
This grass will grow on soils of moderate drainage or better. It will grow well on acid, droughty, and low fertility soils. The best use for this grass is on drastically disturbed sites such as strip mine RAMP sites in PA and South.
Cultivation and Care
Caucasian bluestem should be seeded as the soil warms in the spring. The germination is slow compared to cool season grasses and the two types of grass are almost never planted together. Native grass drills such as the Truax, Great Plains, or Tye are the best units for planting this seed as they have positive feed mechanisms for chaffy seed and double disk furrow openers. If a suitable drill is not available or cannot be used due to terrain, then broadcasting the seed and tracking it in with a bulldozer is also an excellent planting method. Hydroseeding without tracking is simply a waste of time, money, and effort. Mulches are avoided with warm season grass plantings unless absolutely necessary to control erosion--then use 1500 pounds per acre of straw as a maximum rate. No nitrogen fertilizer should be applied during the seeding year. Phosphorus and potassium should be at medium levels, and the pH should be 5.5 or better on forage fields and 5.0 or better on critical areas.
General Upkeep and Control
Once established, there is little management needed for this species. It does not respond as strongly to fire as do our native species.
Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) There are several hybrid cultivars from Oklahoma and Texas, but these are not recommended for used in the Northeast. Caucasian bluestem, sold under that name, is the best of the non-native bluestems.
Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA