Andropogon gerardii 'Red October'

Red October Big Bluestem

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This Big Bluestem cultivar was originally chosen for its narrow leaves and upright habit, but it’s the foliage color everyone is talking about. Leaves start deep green with red highlights in spring. As fall approaches, the red increases and deepens to burgundy. Then, after the first frost, foliage turns candy-apple-red hues mixed with scarlet. Even the turkey-foot shaped seed heads of Red October Big Bluestem are shades of red. The effect is stunning, especially when planted in mixed-perennial, fall-blooming borders, where a 6’ height is an asset. This native ornamental grass is tough like the species, but with a red-themed twist.

Type: 

Ornamental Grass

Height: 

4 - 6'

Spread: 

2 - 3'

Spacing: 

None

USDA Hardiness Zone: 

5 - 8

Culture: 

Full Sun

Bloom Color: 

None

Season of Interest: 

Winter

MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils and growing conditions. Puts out lots of growth in moist, fertile soils, but is less apt to topple in dryish, infertile soils. Freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. This grass develops an extensive root system and is somewhat slow to establish, but, once established, has excellent drought tolerance and is easy to maintain. Cut stems to the ground in late winter before new shoots appear.

LANDSCAPE USES: Naturalize, Mass Planting, Meadow

COMPANION PLANTS: Milkweed, Tickseed, Black Eyed Susan

 

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