This dwarf, clump forming, warm season native was chosen for its unique rounded shape and resistance to lodging; blue-green blades with a purplish-bronze bloom; a true kaleidoscope of autumn color
Other Names: Little Bluestem
What Makes it Special?
Carousel Bluestem is primarily grown for its highly ornamental fruit. The antique red seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance from early fall to late winter. Its attractive grassy leaves are bluish-green in color. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous orange in the fall. It has masses of beautiful spikes of deep purple flowers rising above the foliage in late summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. The brick red stems are very colorful and add to the overall interest of the plant.
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Carousel Bluestem is an herbaceous perennial grass with an upright spreading habit of growth. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.
This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cut back to the ground in late winter before active growth resumes. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Planting & Growing
Carousel Bluestem will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity extending to 32 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 18 inches. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years. As an herbaceous perennial, this plant will usually die back to the crown each winter, and will regrow from the base each spring. Be careful not to disturb the crown in late winter when it may not be readily seen!
This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.