Blue fescue (Festuca glauca) grows as a small ornamental perennial mound grass. It rarely exceeds 12 inches in height. Each blade of grass appears to be coated in a blue powdery substance that can be rubbed off. Tiny spikelets of flowers appear each spring. The flower heads are often sheared off so they do not detract from the overall neat mounded appearance of the blue fescue.
The mounded ornamental grass is native to Europe. Many cultivars have been developed that offer various blade widths and slight variations in color. Blaufink (Blue Finch) is a tiny mound forming blue fescue cultivar that does not exceed 6 inches in height. The cultivar 'Elijah Blue' is the most vigorous of all blue fescue cultivars according to Floridata. Currently there are over 300 cultivar varieties available of blue fescue.
Blue fescue is considered to be a relatively short-lived ornamental grass. After two years most varieties begin to show widespread death within the center of the clump that makes the grass unsightly. However, the clumps can be dug up and divided. Discard the dead areas of the plant and replant only the areas that show life.
When grown in full sunlight the blue fescue develops a deeper blue color. The grass can also be grown in partial shade and will flourish with diminished color. In regions where the temperature often reaches the double digits the grass should be planted in partial shade to afford it additional protection from the staggering heat.
Soil and Water
Blue fescue will flourish in poor, sandy soil conditions with ease. The grass is also extremely drought tolerant. The grass will not grow in heavy, water-logged soil conditions. Clay soils should be avoided because of their inability to offer good drainage.
Blue Fescue Turf
Normally grown as an ornamental grass, the blue fescue can also thrive as an interesting turf grass. It can withstand mowing well, is drought tolerant and offers a unique color choice to any lawn. The grass is shade tolerant and will maintain its outstanding blue color even during the winter months. The grass is commonly mixed with other turf grass varieties such as rye grass, bentgrass and blue grass varieties for lawn seeding. The blue fescue makes an excellent golf course lawn choice.
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