Flowering grasses such as Blue Fescue have icy blue foliage and pale yellow blooms that make them an attractive addition to any garden or landscape design. USDA plant hardiness zones 4-8 support its growth. Because of its low maintenance and fine texture, it is a fantastic companion plant for heavier or more dramatic plantings, making it an excellent choice for the garden. In contrast to several other attractive grasses, F. glauca is an evergreen Poaceae perennial that grows quickly.
However, blue fescue is a showy grass that differs from the tall fescues commonly used in turf lawn combinations. It can reach heights of up to 12 inches. Blue fescue seed should be sown in the spring or fall.
About Blue Fescue Grass
Although blue fescue plants are evergreen, aged blades are shed and replaced by new, deep blue leaves in the spring. Older leaves stick to the plant and dull the plant’s vibrant hue. A simple way to remove them is to use your fingertips. In the months of May and June, the grass grows in low, compact mounds and produces tall, flower-tipped stalks. Blue fescue’s zonal tolerance is a major feature. If you live somewhere where the summers aren’t too hot, you can grow this plant in USDA zones 4 to 9. The plant dies back in extremely hot conditions. Blue fescue grass is available in a variety of forms for the garden. Compared to the standard blue fescue, the huge blue fescue (Festuca amethystine) is more hardy (Festuca glauca). Elijah Blue, a popular cultivar, is just one of several. Blue fescue comes in a variety of colors, including gold.
If you follow a few simple instructions, blue fescue can be quite low-maintenance. If you want to encourage the growth of young plants, a 3-inch layer of bark mulch or other organic material is recommended. Mulch aids in soil moisture conservation and weed suppression. Soil nutrients are released as it decomposes (at which time you can replace the old mulch with a new batch).
Insect and disease concerns are rare with blue fescue. If you don’t divide the plant every year, it will die in a few years and you’ll have to start all over again.
Blue fescue is best grown in full sun, but it can handle some shade. In order to achieve its well-known blue-gray tint, this ornamental grass needs plenty of direct sunlight.
This plant does well in well-draining, rather dry soil. A moist, muddy environment is not tolerated by it.
The moisture requirements of this plant are on the middle of the range. Short droughts will slow, but not kill, the plant’s growth when experienced frequently during the hot summer months.
Temperature and Humidity
When it comes to blue fescue, it enjoys cold summers but can survive in relatively mild temperatures. However, extreme heat and heavy humidity might limit this perennial’s life span. 1
Blue fescue doesn’t require any additional feeding when compost is used as mulch around the plant.
Types of Blue Fescue
- ‘Elijah Blue’ is the most popular cultivar with light blue leaves.
- The leaves of ‘Golden Toupee’ are chartreuse.
- In ‘Boulder Blue’, the color is silvery-blue.
- Small details and a fine texture make ‘Blaufink’ a good choice.
- ‘Tom Thumb’ reaches a maximum height of only 4 inches.
- The color of ‘Harz’ is an olive green with a tinge of purple.
Early spring is the best time to remove all of the foliage from the plant. Improve the plant’s appearance and make place for the new grass blades by removing the old ones.
In order to maintain a dense, mounded shape, remove dead blades of grass and flower heads. You may be able to let it self-seed if you leave the flowers on the plant, but you will need to remove them if you want it to stay contained.
How to Take Care of Blue Fescue
Even though blue fescue requires little upkeep, there are a few things to keep in mind when caring for this plant, such as:
If you want robust roots in your blue fescue, make sure the soil is moist but not soggy while watering. The amount of water you have to use once your plants are fully grown will be less than when they are young. Instead, watering should be done in a more ad hoc manner.
For example, water your blue fescue based on the weather and how your plants are performing. Get an idea of how much water your plants need by observing them.
Apply an organic mulch layer to the soil to help retain moisture. Over time, the organic mulch decomposes and improves the general health of your garden soil. If your soil is in desperate need of nutrients, this can be a lifesaver. In addition to avoiding water damage and keeping your soil weed-free, organic mulch is also beneficial.
Combing Out Dead Blades
It is important to remove the flowerheads and comb off the dead blades of your blue fescue to maintain it looking its best. This encourages the plant to grow into a compact, spherical form. Leave the blooms on because they yield seeds that can be used to grow more blue fescue.
Propagating Blue Fescue
Blue fescue can be easily propagated through division. If you don’t divide your blue fescue, it won’t last more than three to five years.)
Shovel or garden trowel the plant out of the ground and remove it. Discard the brown parts of each smaller clump after slicing it in half and plucking them out. As tempting since it may be, do not use your hands to break apart the clumps as this could harm the root structure. The new clusters should be replanted as fresh plants and spaced 8-10 inches apart. Subsoil the root systems. Ensure that you drink plenty of water.
How to Grow Blue Fescue From Seed
Blue fescue may be grown from seed, and it’s a simple process. Plant them in peat pots filled with seed-starting mix in late winter. Just three seeds per container, lightly covered with the chosen soil and kept moist until they are ready to be transplanted outside. In late summer or after the risk of frost has gone, blue fescue seeds can be sown straight into the soil.
Planting Blue Fescue
Plant clumps of blue fescue grass along a border to serve as a striking contrast to other perennials. Also, the grass creates diversity in texture and contrasts with wide, leafy plants. For optimum growth, the plant needs wet, well-drained soil in full sunlight, regardless of where you chose to place it. In containers, they do well with Golden Barberry or other golden or variegated plants, and the roots of this grass aren’t very deep.
Blue fescue grass may turn brown in the winter in cold climates, but many producers prefer to leave it in place to shield the roots from the cold. A frost blanket or bringing the plant indoors is the only option if you don’t have a container of blue fescue.
Blue fescue is susceptible to aphids. Water can get rid of them, but horticultural oil or insecticidal soaps work better on severe infestations.
Common Problems with Blue Fescue
When it comes to blue fescue, gardeners in hot areas may run into a different issue: Summer heat and humidity can cause the development of plants above the ground to die back. It’s best to give the plant a “haircut” when this happens, as its appearance is already ruined. In most circumstances, the plant will be able to recover when the weather is more temperate.
Care of Blue Fescue Grass
Blue fescue decorative grass doesn’t require much maintenance to look great. Blue fescue grass requires an average amount of moisture, and it will need more water in the summer months. Compost should be added to the soil prior to planting to prevent the plant from dying back. As long as an organic mulch is used around the base of the grass, blue fescue plants do not require fertilizing. The easiest way to keep the foliage looking its best is by hand combing out the dead grass and flower heads. Remove the bloom heads to encourage the plant to form a compact mound. Leave the blossoms on the plant if you want to avoid seeds.
How Blue Fescue Looks in Your Landscape
Perennial blue fescue is a lovely addition to any garden. Adding a plant like this, with its soft hues, is a terrific idea for your garden. As previously stated, this is a low-maintenance plant that may be cleaned up early in the spring before it begins to grow again.
You can use blue fescue as an edger, in rock and alpine gardens, in naturalizing and forest gardens, in containers and in the garden as a whole.
Why Should You Start Growing Your Blue Fescue in a Greenhouse?
Although blue fescue looks stunning when displayed, you should start growing it in your greenhouse for various reasons.
Insects and illnesses can’t harm your blue fescue plants because of the protection provided by a little greenhouse. Invasion by pests is extremely unusual, but when it does happen, the consequences can be severe. Blue fescue is a common target for aphids. Plant infections are another potential issue with blue fescue cultivation.
In a compact greenhouse, you reduce the risk of pests and illnesses by keeping your plants in a safe environment. It ensures that your plants will thrive until they are old enough to harvest.
Blue Fescue Growing Tips
Some of the blue fescue plants in your yard may be getting old and dying, especially in the center. One of the best ways to develop blue fescue is to divide it. Simply dig up and chop in half the dying plant. You can remove the central section by hand and end up with two plants that are both healthy and lush. It’s possible to divide the plant every three to five years, or whenever the plant’s central blade development slows.
Instead of blue fescue, what would you recommend? There are many different attractive grasses to choose from, such as blue fescue, which is known for its silvery-blue tint. Japanese forest grass, zebra grass, purple fountain grass, and blue oat grass are all common grasses.
Yes, you can grow blue fescue inside. There is a good chance it will eventually have to be moved outside because it requires a lot of room to thrive.