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Barb's OPN Favorites - Favorite Native Grass

February 5, 2020

By: Barb Holtz

If you caught my favorite native seed mix blog then you've been expectantly waiting for this one - favorite native grass. As before, this is tough because all non-forbs (forbs being wildflowers) have delightful, unique characteristics depending on your seed sowing conditions. But I promised a pick, so here it goes...

Little Bluestem within a Prairie Planting

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) gets my vote! This grass has it all- blossom color (yes, native grasses bloom and beautifully I might add), medium height, wildlife value and visual autumn appeal. It's sunny preference (at least 6 hours a day) and middle-of-the-road moisture requirements pair perfectly with my favorite native seed mix. Don't let the 3 to 5 foot size alarm you. This grass gives a solid backdrop or intermingled charm to native wildflower blooms.

Native grasses are essential components of wildlife habitat, in particular as under sung insect host plant heroes. Host plants provide specific food to insect larva for adult rearing success. As milkweed is to Monarchs, Little Bluestem is to many skipper species. It is the larval host or nectar source for Dusted Skipper, Indian Skipper, Crossline Skipper and Ottoe Skipper butterflies.

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