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Zones 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 7-11, 14, 18-21, 29, 30, 33, 35, 41, 43, 45
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Minimal Water
Minimal

Bouteloua

Grama Grass
Poaceae (Gramineae)
Ornamental grasses and grasslike plants

These natives of dry North American grasslands form clumps of narrow gray-green leaves. These tough, heat- and drought-tolerant plants are characterized by oddly attractive flowering stems that carry their summer flowers on one side only. One or a few plants are pretty in a border or large rock garden. Massed, they are useful for creating meadows. Grow from seed or division.

Bouteloua gracilis (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)
Bouteloua gracilis (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)

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Bouteloua gracilis

This native bunch grass grows up to 1 1/2–2 ft. high, 1 ft. wide. Flowering stems have odd inflorescences springing out at right angles and said to resemble hovering mosquitoes. Reddish in summer, they bleach to white. Tolerates sunny, arid, alkaline conditions in the High Plains and Rocky Mountain areas. Makes a fair low-water-use lawn if mowed to 1 1/2 in. high. Irrigate to a depth of 1 ft. until established; thereafter, it needs virtually no water.

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