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How to Care for Blue Fescue

By Diane Dilov-Schultheis ; Updated September 21, 2017
Prune blue fescue each year in early spring.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Garden gravel
  • Pruning shears


  • Floridata recommends digging up and dividing the blue fescue clumps every 2 to 3 years in the spring or fall, since the grass "tends to die out in the center."

About the 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 online at the Travel Channel and Intel.