Plants We Love: Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)Common name: Prairie dropseed

Botanical name:
Sporobolus heterolepis

Virtues: Low maintenance and drought tolerant. Compact size. Lends fall and winter interest with its decorative seed heads. Doesn’t spread aggressively, as some other ornamental grasses do. One of several outstanding native ornamental grasses.

Foliage: Very fine, arching leaves, to 20 inches long. They turn from summer green to gold/orange in the fall. Leaves persist in winter but fade in color.

Pinkish brown branches of flowers appear on 3-foot-tall stems in late summer. They have a unique fragrance that has been compared to coriander.

Clumping mound 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.

Season: Summer through fall.

Origin: Dry prairies of the Midwest into Texas and Colorado.

Cultivation: Grow in full sun in any well-drained soil. Tolerates drought. A warm-season grass, it doesn’t start actively growing until summer. Although the plant is called dropseed, and its seeds do drop to the ground in the fall, it doesn’t spread quickly on its own. USDA Zones 3–9.

Read more about prairie dropseed

Image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder

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One thought on “Plants We Love: Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

  1. I am looking for a border grass which will hold winter interest and offer seedheads for the birds. I’m looking for a 3 to 4-foot max height. Would prairie dropseed fit the bill? If not, could you recommend something else? I live in Maryland (Zone 7).

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