Content Detail

Blue fescue is a short lived, low growing, mounded, cool season grass grown for its compact size and blue foliage.  It is a non-native, clumping grass. The blue coloration can vary, so it is best to buy named cultivars for uniformity of color. It is known by several other botanical names, including Festuca ovina var. glauca, Festuca ovina ‘Glauca’, and Festuca cinerea.

  • Family (English) Grass
  • Family (botanic) Poaceae
  • Tree or plant type Grass, Ground cover, Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Season of interest early fall, early spring, early summer, early winter, late fall, late spring, late summer, late winter, mid fall, mid spring, midsummer, midwinter
  • Flower color and fragrance Other
  • Shape or form Mounded

Size:

Blue fescue is a small, mounded, clumping grass that grows six to 10 inches tall. When it is in flower, it may be 15 to 18 inches tall. Because of the neat, mounded shape, these plants can be planted close together and used as a ground cover.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Europe.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The leaves are blue green, but may vary in color from plant to plant. The needle-like blades of grass will grow six to eight inches long. They remain green in the winter.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Blue fescue has tiny green flower clusters with a purple tinge on long stems above the foliage in late spring to early summer. Flowers are wind pollinated.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The small caryopsis or grain fruits are held in the small clusters that held the flowers. As the fruit matures, they will turn brown. Some find these unattractive and cut them off.

Plant Care:

Blue fescue prefers a cool, moist environment and full sun. In hotter climates, put this grass where it can get some midday shade. Plants may slow their growth or go almost dormant in hot summers. This grass is easy to grow from seed, but the color of seedlings will vary from green to very blue. If uniformity of color is needed you’ll want to buy named cultivars.

This is a cool season grass, so its most active growth occurs in spring and fall. Seed stalks may detract from the appearance of the neat blue mounds, so consider pruning off the seed stalks. It will be semi-evergreen in winter and should not be cut back until early spring, before new growth begins. At that time, it can be cut down to the ground if needed or simply trimmed to remove winter damage.

List of pests and diseases:

No serious pest problems.

Blaufink (Bluefinch) (Festuca glauca ‘Blaufink’):

It is a compact cultivar and grows six to eight inches with a finer texture.

Blauglut (Blue Glow) (Festuca glauca ‘Blauglut’):

This cultivar has silver-blue foliage.

Blausilber (Blue-silver)  (Festuca glauca ‘Blausilber’):

It grows eight inches tall with silver-blue foliage.

Boulder Blue  (Festuca glauca ‘Boulder Blue’):

This cultivar has silver-blue foliage, grows more upright and is more drought tolerant.

Elijah Blue (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’):

It has an unique powder blue foliage and grows eight inches tall.

Frühlingsblau (Spring Blue): (Festuca glauca ‘Frühlingsblau’):

This cultivar has foliage that is light blue and grows eight inches tall.

Golden Toupee (Festuca glauca ‘Golden Toupee’):

The foliage is chartreuse and grows about 12 inches tall.

Meerblau (Sea Blue) (Festuca glauca ‘Meerblau’):

The blue green foliage grows from eight to 12 inches tall.

Solling  (Festuca glauca ‘Solling’): 

This cultivar has foliage that is light blue and doesn’t produce flowers.

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