Are you looking for a small ornamental grass to add a superb color accent to your landscape? Look no further than Blue Fescue!
Festuca Glauca, commonly known as Blue Fescue, is a small ornamental grass, beloved by gardeners. It is popular for its unique-looking icy blue foliage and pale-yellow flowers. Blue Fescue is a versatile perennial grass that lasts all year-round and has minimal needs and thrives in a wide range of environments. There are very few things that Blue Fescue can’t survive!
What sets Blue Fescue apart from other ornamental grasses is the fact that it is fast-growing, and it is an excellent choice as a companion plant for more dramatic plantings.
Ready to learn more about how to grow and care for Blue Fescue plants? Keep reading our guide!
About Blue Fescue
- Blue Fescue is native to Europe, particularly to southern France.
- The botanical name of Blue Fescue is Festuca Glauca. This ornamental grass is also known as Elijah Blue, Festuca Ovina glauca Elijah Blue, and Festuca Ovina Glauca Elija-blue.
- Festuca Glauca is part of the grass family Poaceae, a large family that includes many types of grass, including cereal grasses and bamboos.
- Blue Fescue is a perennial ornamental grass that looks amazing in any outdoor space. It is an excellent plant for borders and edging. This ornamental grass is perfect for ground cover, rock gardens, cottage gardens, and city gardens when grown in a mass planting. Blue Fescue also looks great when grown in containers.
- Blue Fescue is a sun-loving plant. This perennial grass thrives when it grows in full sun. It can also adapt to partial shade, but it doesn’t bloom as well as it does in full sunlight. Make sure to choose a sunny spot for your Blue Fescue plants.
- In terms of soil preferences, Blue Fescue prefers to grow in relatively dry soil that provides good drainage. This ornamental grass doesn’t do well in wet or soggy soil conditions since it is susceptible to root rot.
- Blue Fescue has minimal watering needs. It prefers average moisture to thrive. It is best to water the plant more frequently during the hot season to ensure proper hydration, but you should avoid overwatering it. This ornamental grass is drought-tolerant.
- Blue Fescue plants are fans of cooler weather. They prefer cool summers but can also adapt and survive moderately warm temperatures. Scorching temperatures and high humidity cause the foliage to die back.
- Blue Fescue isn’t toxic to humans or pets, but it is not digestible, and it may cause an upset stomach. So, it’s best to plant this ornamental grass out of your pets’ and kids’ reach.
- There are very few things that can bother Blue Fescue plants. In fact, these ornamental grass plants are resistant to a number of things that are common threats for most garden plants, including deer and drought.
- The only two things that can kill Blue Fescue plants are root rot, caused by overwatering or heavy/clay soil, and if the plant is left undivided for several years.
Blue Fescue Features: An overview
- Blue Fescue is an evergreen perennial grass featuring icy, silver-blue foliage that resembles needles and that form a neat and dense mound.
- Blue Fescue can grow up to 9-12 inches (22-30cm) high and 6-9 inches (15-22 cm) wide when reaching maturity.
- This perennial ornamental grass looks very similar to Boulder Blue. What sets it apart is its slightly taller stature and looser growing habit. Another distinction between the two is the fact that Blue Fescue features less upright flower stalks.
- In early summer, Blue Fescue produces greenish to yellow flowers. At first, the blooms have a similar colour to the foliage but change their colour into pale yellow when reaching maturity.
Growing Blue Fescue
Caring for Blue Fescue is a really easy task for both experienced and novice gardeners. This perennial grass is resistant and adaptable to many things, which makes it incredibly difficult to kill it due to improper care.
The first thing to keep in mind when caring for Blue Fescue plants is to make sure that you provide them with enough sunlight. As mentioned before, this ornamental plant is sun-loving and needs to grow in full sun to thrive. Although it can also adapt to partial shade, this may affect its blooming properties. So, make sure that you choose the sunniest spot in your outdoor space to grow your Blue Fescue plants.
Another great way to help your Blue Fescue plants grow healthy and happy is to ensure that they have enough nutrients. You can do so by applying compost around the plants. Mulch will provide enough nutrients and feeding to your ornamental grass. As long as there is enough mulch around the plant, you don’t need to apply any other type of fertilizer.
Pruning is also an essential step in keeping your Blue Fescue plants healthy and looking great. All you have to do is to comb out the dead blades from the foliage and remove the flower heads after they are dead. Light pruning will help you maintain the tight mound shape of the plant.
You should also cut back the foliage to just a few inches above the ground in early spring. This will help promote and create room for new grass blades.
Planting Blue Fescue
Planting Blue Fescue is also an easy task since it is resistant and adaptable to a number of conditions. Plus, this ornamental grass also has minimal growing needs and requirements. As long as you keep its most basic needs in mind when planting it, the planting will surely be successful.
First of all, know that the best time to plant Blue Fescue is a cool season since this perennial grass prefers cooler temperatures. So, plant your Blue Fescue plants in spring or fall. If you grow your seeds in spring, make sure that the danger of the last frost has passed.
Another essential aspect to keep in mind is its lighting preferences. Choose a sunny spot in your garden to plant it. It would be best if you would find an area where the plant gets full sun all day long.
Remember that the plant also requires well-draining soil in order to avoid root rot. The essential element of well-draining soil is oxygen. So, to create soil that ensures good drainage for your Blue Fescue plants, you can mix the native soil in your garden with coarse sand or crusher fines. If you plant your ornamental grass plants in containers, make sure they have a few drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to pass.
To actually plant the Blue Fescue plants, dig holes in the soil to a depth of at least 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm). If your native soil is clay or sandy, fill 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) of the holes with organic matter such as compost or chopped bark.
After planting, make sure to water the grass profoundly and provide enough moisture for the soil to saturate around the roots.
Watering Blue Fescue
Blue Fescue has minimal watering needs. In fact, this ornamental grass is drought-tolerant, meaning that it can survive short periods of drought.
Blue Fescue prefers average moisture and hates wet feet. Since it is prone to root rot caused by overwatering, it is best to underwater the plant than to risk providing it with too much water.
Depending on how hot temperatures are in your area during summer, you may have to water your Blue Fescue plants weekly. This will provide enough moisture for the plants to remain green and keep growing. Adapt the watering schedule of your ornamental grass depending on the temperatures and humidity in your area.
If you grow your Blue Fescue in containers, make sure to remove excess water after a few minutes in case you poured too much of it.
Propagating Blue Fescue
If you want more of this ornamental grass in your outdoor space, we have some great news: propagating Blue Fescue is incredibly easy.
One of the most popular propagating methods for Blue Fescue is through division in spring. In fact, this is also essential for the plant’s survival. Blue Fescue plants rarely survive more than 3-5 years if it isn’t divided.
To divide your Blue Fescue plants:
- Take them out of the soil using a shovel or a garden trowel.
- Cut the clump in half and pry away any brown sections of each smaller clump.
- Ensure that you don’t pull apart the clumps using your hands because this may damage the root structure.
- The final step is to replant the clumps as new plants and leave 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) between them.
- Water the new plants regularly.
Blue Fescue is an excellent ornamental grass to have in your outdoor space. This perennial grass has a unique appearance and colour and makes a fascinating accent plant all year round.
It is incredibly easy to care for and grow Blue Fescue plants. They are resistant to many things that usually threaten most garden plants, and they can adapt to various conditions. Are you already growing Blue Fescue? Share your thoughts in the comment section!