Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Sporobolus heterolepis (photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo)
Sporobolus heterolepis (photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo)

Click to Enlarge

Zone
Zones 1-10, 14-17
Full Sun
Full
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Sporobolus heterolepis

Prairie Dropseed

Ornamental grasses and grasslike plants, Perennials

SPOROBOLUS

Graceful, fine-textured, clumping grasses that are as tough as they are good-looking. Deep-rooted and drought-tolerant; excellent for massing in hot, dry areas and effective in meadow gardens, mixed borders, naturalized areas, rock gardens, and even by swimming pools. Plume-like flower heads appear in summer and fall. After they fade, tiny seeds drop to the ground; hence the common name. These plants tolerate a wide range of soil conditions.

Sporobolus heterolepis

Native to the Midwest, High Plains, and much of the eastern U.S. Emerald green, hairlike leaves form a billowing mass to 15 in. tall and 1 1/2 ft. wide. Foliage turns golden to orange in fall, then fades to light bronze in winter. Slender-stemmed, airy panicles of flowers rise to 3 ft. tall, soaring above the foliage in late summer. Blossoms are pink to light brown and smell faintly of buttered popcorn. The seeds are highly nutritious and were ground into flour by the Plains Indians. Self-sows mildly; volunteer seedlings are seldom a problem. Plants tolerate any soil but do best when it’s on the dry side.

You Might Also Like...

Laburnum

These upright growers are usually pruned into single-trunked trees, but can be shrubby if permitted to...

Maackia chinensis

This Chinese native reaches 20–30 ft. tall and wide. Shrubby with leaves divided into many ...

Fraxinus americana

Native to the eastern U.S. This deciduous tree grows to 80 ft. or taller with a straight trunk and ova...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More

Advertisement