Virtues: A drought-tolerant and cold-hardy ornamental grass with unique midsummer flowers. Seed heads remain interesting through the winter. Adds fine texture and movement to the garden. Recognized as a Plant Select winner in 2011.
Common name: 'Blonde Ambition' blue grama
Botanical name:Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'
Foliage: Fine, grassy, blue-gray leaves.
Flowers: Long, narrow yellow-green flowers appear at the top of three-foot stems in midsummer. The flowers sit perpendicular to the stems, looking like pennants. Pale seed heads follow and remain appealing through winter because of their very sturdy stems.
Habit: Rounded grass one to two feet tall and wide in foliage. Flowering stems reach to three feet tall.
Season: Summer, fall, winter.
Origin: A selection of blue grama, a grass native to roughly the western half of North America. Discovered and introduced by David Salman of High Country Gardens.
Cultivation: Grow in any well-drained soil and full sun. Very drought tolerant. Cut down to four to six inches tall in early spring. This is a warm-season grass; growth may be slow to resume but once temperatures heat up it will grow quickly. USDA Zones 4–9.
Image courtesy Plant Select
Find many more drought-tolerant grasses in Ornamental Grasses for the Western Garden.
Create a natural-looking landscape of grasses and prairie flowers with The American Meadow Garden.
Learn all about designing with and caring for ornamental grasses with Nancy Ondra's Grasses: Versatile Partners for Uncommon Garden Design.