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5-6 ft upright grass

Posted by hostaholic2 MN 4 (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 13, 09 at 16:11

I'm new to the OG forum and I 'm hoping you can give me some input. I'm looking at redoing a border and want a tall, upright, clumping grass for the backdrop. I'm thinking of sorghastrum, Blue Hills, but am certainly open to suggestions. Any pros, cons etc. to that grass or suggestions for alternatives would be appreciated. Also, I'm in zone 4. Can I still plant this summer/early fall or should I wait till spring? Thanks for any input you can give.


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RE: 5-6 ft upright grass

  • Posted by donn_ 7b, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 13, 09 at 16:34

I'm not familiar with 'Blue Hills,' and can't find any information on it. I've heard of 'Cheyenne,' 'Sioux Blue' and 'Indian Steel' as cultivars of Sorghastrum nutans.

I haven't grown Sorghastrum, but comparing photos of it to Panicum virgatum 'Northwind' shows 'Northwind' to be far more upright in habit, and almost as blue in color as 'Sioux Blue.' I grow 'Northwind' and it's by far the most erect grass I've found.

If you are going to plant a fairly large potted grass, and have at least 6-8 weeks before truly cold weather, you might get away with late summer planting. To be on the safe side, I'd wait for spring.


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RE: 5-6 ft upright grass

Sorry, my goof I was thinking Sioux Blue, and typing Blue Hill. I like the upright form of Northwind, but have lost them two winters in a row.


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RE: 5-6 ft upright grass

  • Posted by donn_ 7b, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 14, 09 at 13:56

That's a shame about the 'Northwind.' Bluestem.ca rates it for Z4, but either it's a tenuous Z4, or you're in a cold Z4.

Have you tried Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster?' Foliage is 4' tall, and blooms to 6' and it's very upright. It's rated for Z3.


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