Image for Big bluestem or Turkey foot

Big bluestem or Turkey foot

Scientific name

Andropogon gerardii


Big Bluestem is a perennial, ornamental grass species that typically grows less than 2 m in height. This plant may also be known by the common name Turkey foot. The leaves are gray to bluish green in the spring, have reddish tinges in the summer, and change bronzish lavender in the fall. The flowers are purplish, three pronged resembling a turkey foot, appear in finger like clusters on tall stems, and bloom between September and February. Big Bluestem is easy to grow and is low maintenance. This plant spreads well and can form small colonies. The roots can useful for controlling erosion and stabilizing shorelines. The seeds are also beneficial to wildlife species, like birds and small mammals.

Planting conditions

Big Bluestem grows best in dry to moist conditions with full or partial sun exposure. It grows well in a variety of soil types, including loam, sand, clay, and rock. It is tolerant of drought, poor and infertile soil, deer grazing, steep slopes, and air pollution. This grass can be naturally found in open forests, forest edges, prairies, roadsides, and sandy slopes.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
    • Drought Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Clay
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
  • Eco Zone:
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
  • Height:
    • 2 m
  • Spread:
    • 2 m