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Blue Grama
Bouteloua gracilis

About Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) Blue Grama is a widespread, long-lived, warm season, C4 perennial grass native to North America. It is most commonly found from Alberta east to Manitoba and south across the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, and Midwest states to Mexico. In California it is found primarily in arid mountains of San Bernardino Counties. Blue grama accounts for most of the net primary productivity in the shortgrass prairie of the central and southern Great Plains. Blue grama grows on a wide array of topographic positions, and in a range of well-drained soil types, from fine to coarse textured. Plant height at maturity ranges from 15-30 centimeters. Roots generally extend 30-46 centimeters from the edge of the plant, and 0.9-1.8 meters deep. Maximum rooting depth is approximately 2 meters. In recent years Blue grama has become a popular garden accent grass due to its green to greyish color and interesting seed heads which resemble small penants. There is a popular cultivar known as 'Blond Ambition'.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
0.49 - 2 ft (0.15 - 0.6 m)

Max. Width
2 ft (0.6 m)


Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate

Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Sandy rocky slopes, flats, prairies, plains, open rocky woodlands below 7,000 ft.

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
180' - 8943'

Annual Precip. ?
5.9" - 33.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.17" - 3.20"

Coldest Month ?
30.9° F - 57.6° F

Hottest Month ?
56.3° F - 79.3° F

Humidity ?
1.91 vpd - 31.22 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils as long as adequate drainage is provided

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Sunset Zones ?
2, 3, 7*, 8*, 9*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
In the garden it can be used with a wide variety of native plants.

Wildlife Attracted
Attractive to a variety of insects and birds

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Pruning is not necessary but it can be cut back in winter when it is dormant

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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