Blue-eyed Grass

Eastern Blue-eyed Grass;
aka, Narrowleaf, Pointed, Stout,
or Northern Blue-eyed Grass


"Out of the clover & blue-eyed grass
He turned them into the river-lane;
One after another he let them pass,
Then fastened the meadow-bars again."

Driving Home the Cows
by Kate Putnam Osgood,
b. 1860

   

Sisyrinchium angustifolium is a primitive iris that can easily be mistaken for a clump of grass if not for the yellow-centered bright blue almost daisy-like flowers that are present May through July.

It is native to midwestern & eastern North America, from New Foundland & Quebec to Florida & Texas. The tight clump grows eight to ten inches tall in the garden, though it can be quite a bit taller in the wild. Over time its spread can be considerable, as it is inclined to self-seed & colonize any sunny location. Spreading clumps can be divided in early spring.

Hardy for zones five through nine, it is an evergreen here in Zone 8, but would require mulching for winter protection at the colder edge of its tolerances. It thrives in poor soil, but it's nice to give it a couple of monthly fertilizings during the flowering period, something close 14-14-14 but at one-fourth the recommended amount, or any lowkey granular organic fertilizer.

As a prairie wildflower it is adapted to "drought or drown" conditions & would experience seasonal flooding in its natural environment. Though generally grown in dryish sun-gardens, it actually prefers a bit of spring & early summer watering to bloom its best, though soil should drain extremely well.

Ours grows in full morning sun, slightly protected under a Royal Star Magnolia. Similar species are growing in other sun-gardens with full exposure, including the west coast native wildflowers Douglas's Blue-eyed Grass (Olsynium douglasii 'Quaint & Queer'), Idaho blue-eyed grass (S. idahoense), Balls' Mauve blue-eyed grass (S. x bellum 'E. K. Balls'), & California Yellow-Eyed Grass S. californicum).

   



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