Bouteloua curtipendula - Side Oats Grama

Side oats grama is found in the mixed grass prairie. It is one of the most drought tolerant of the grasses. The main features are the distinctive inflorescence and the bright fall color. We will often suggest both Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) and Bouteloua curtipendula as an interesting choice for difficult areas.

This grass is often over-looked for a specimen, however the unique flowers serve as a striking focal point in a small garden. No need to worry about its sod-forming nature as it spreads at a very slow rate.

The Latin word curtipendula means "hanging down somewhat".

Description: warm season; sod forming (slow spreader)
Foliage light green; medium blade width; 40-80 cm (16-32")
Flowers - June-Aug; 60-100 cm (24-40")

Ideal conditions: full sun to light shade; can grow in a wide range of soil types; tolerates alkaline soil; extremely drought tolerant

Coldest zone: 3 (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Season of interest: June to October

Native to: dry open grasslands of central North America and south to Argentina

Recommended spacing between plants: 40-75 cm (16-30") why such a difference?

Drought tolerance rating: 1 (water to root depth once a month); further info

Pronunciation: Bouteloua (boo-tuh-LOO-ah) curtipendula (curt-ih-PEN-dyoo-lah)


More ornamental grasses

Compare Bouteloua curtipendula to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Bouteloua curtipendula - Side Oats Grama
Bouteloua curtipendula - Side Oats Grama

from the USDA website: states and provinces where
Bouteloua curtipendula is native