Scientific: Bouteloua gracilis
Common: blue grama, mosquito grass
Family: Poaceae
Origin: Widely distributed across North America found mostly in short grass-dominated ecosystems.

Pronounciation: Bow-te-LOU-a gra-SIL-is

Hardiness zones
USDA 3-11

Landscape Use: Best planted in groups as a textural accent, rock gardens, transitional landscapes.

Form & Character: Light, breezy, airy, has a psychological cooling, and a softening effect in the landscape.

Growth Habit: Relatively smallish, perennial, warm season bunch grass clumping to 2 in height at maturity.

Foliage/Texture: Green to glaucous green, narrow and elongated to 10 inches; fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Numerous flowering stems (culms) extend up to 18 inches above the foliage. At the culm terminus are usually one to four comb-like floral spikes that extend outward at a distinct angle. Each spike contains 20 to 90 spikelets to 0.25 inches that are variously fertile (floret) or sterile. The fertile florets contain glumes and bracts with three short bristles (awns) at the tip. If pollinated, the florets produces a small oblong, brown seed.

Seasonal Color: None

Temperature: Tolerant

Light: Full sun, except avoid western exposures.

Soil: Tolerant of most soil conditions, except prefers good drainage.

Watering: As like other ornamental grasses in Phoenix, irrigation during the summer months is key to maintaining good plant appearance. Irrigate weekly to bi-weekly during summer to keep plants robust. In contrast, less frequent to no supplemental irrigation needed during winter.

Pruning: Shear (only once per year in late winter) or burn to the ground in late winter or early spring to remove thatch (dead and slow to decompose leaves and shoots because of the dry climate) and re-induce vigor. Make sure to check local laws and regulations before burning outdoors.

Propagation: Division anytime, seed in fall and early winter.

Disease and pests: None in central Arizona.

Additional comments: Blue grama is a warm season C4 grass with an interesting texture accent, especially when flowering and fruiting. 'Blonde Ambition' is a popular cultivar for the Phoenix area grown locally by Mountain States Nursery. Blue grama is valued as forage and is quite palatable to livestock.