03 May 2014

Blue-eyed Grass is Native Prairie Iris or Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed grass is blooming everywhere right now and what a pretty blue show!

At the center of each flower a seed capsule forms and is dropped onto the ground for next year's flowers.

They are cold hardy in zones 3 to 8, need well-drained soil and thrive on thin, infertile soils. Their native range is FL, TX, and OK to New Foundland and Quebec in Canada.

If you would like to grow them in your sunny garden, direct sow the seeds in October. The seeds will cold stratify over the winter. The seeds germinate in the spring.

If the weather is hot and dry in the spring, the planting will have to be watered.

If preferred, the seeds can be started indoors in flats after they spend 6 weeks in the refrigerator for their needed cold stratification. They will germinate best at 50-degrees so most houses will be too warm.

Interestingly, though all of our flowers are blue, there are also white ones.

Varieties: Prairie Blue-eyed Grass is Sisyrinchium campestre, Sword-leaf Blue-eyed Grass is Sisyrinchium ensigerum, Mountain Blue-eyed Grass is Sisyrinchium montanum, Dotted Blue-eyed Grass is Sisyrinchium pruinosum and Lucerne or Stout Blue-eyed Grass is Sisyrinchium angustifolium 'Lucerne'.

By the way, Blue-eyed Grass isn't a grass at all but is named for its foliage that is spear-like, similar to the garden Iris we all know.

We have extended the original patch of Blue-eyed Grass by not mowing that part of the yard. Over the years, the colony has increased from half a dozen to hundreds of plants. 

If the plants become too thick and stop blooming, they can dug and divided.

Prairie Moon is one nursery that offers both seeds and plants for shipment.

No comments: