Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils including heavy clays. Does well in poor, dry, infertile soils. Tends to open up and/or flop in moist, rich soils however. May naturalize by self-seeding in optimum growing conditions. Cut back to the ground in late winter to early spring just before the new growth appears.
Sorghastrum nutans, commonly called Indian grass, is a warm season Missouri native perennial grass which typically occurs in prairies, glades and open woods throughout the State. It was one of the dominant grasses of the tallgrass prairie which once covered large parts of the Midwest. Typically grows 3-5' tall (less frequently to 6') and is noted for its upright form and blue-green foliage. It forms upright clumps (to 2-3' tall) of slender, blue-green leaves (to 1/2" wide and 2' long). Foliage turns orange-yellow in fall and usually retains hints of color into the winter. Stiff, vertical flowering stems, topped with narrow, feathery, light brown flower panicles (to 12" long) highlighted with yellow stamens, rise well above the foliage clump in late summer to 5-6' tall. Panicles darken to bronze/chestnut brown in fall as they mature, later fading to gray. Panicles continue to provide some interest well into winter.
Genus name come from Greek and means a poor imitation of sorghum.
Specific epithet means to nod or nodding.
No serious insect or disease problems.
Mass or blend into prairies, meadows, wild or naturalized areas. Vertical accent for borders. Also effective on slopes for erosion control.