Bouteloua gracilis Blue grama

Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)

Looking for a highly drought-tolerant grass that is nutritious for animals but also creates an attractive field? Blue grama grass is the perfect option.

Blue grama is a tough native grass that grows differently depending on the climate. From open rocky woodlands to high country gardens, this grass thrives in full sun with little water.

If blue grama grass has caught your eye, here’s everything you’ll need to know about planting this native grass seed in your location.

Get 10% Off Now! Contact Our Experts

What is Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)?

Blue grama is a warm-season perennial grass native to the Southwest and Great Plains of North America. Depending upon the climate, blue grama will grow as turfgrass, bunchgrass, or spread to create sod. Colorado established blue grama as the official state grass in May 1987.

In warmer climates, this native grass will sprout up in bunches. But, it will grow as a sod-former in cooler climates and northern areas. If you’re hoping to establish blue grama as a sod-former in warmer climates, consider a grass seed blend that mixes blue grama with other warm-season native plants, like Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides).

As blue grama grows, the seed heads turn a blue-green color and grow horizontally from the tip of the flowering stems. The seed heads grow in a spike that resembles a comb with two rows of spikelets. With this unique bloom, blue grama makes an excellent addition to ornamental flower gardens and dried flower arrangements.

Growing Conditions for Blue Grama

Blue grama is one of the most drought-resistant grass species, making it an excellent choice for individuals that live in warm climates with little rainfall.

It’s estimated that the blue grama can withstand as little as seven inches of rainfall. Since blue grama grows up to 18 inches tall, the roots will remain shaded with little need for water. Blue grama performs well across altitudes, with its native range in the Great Plains and Southwest between 3,500 ft to over 10,000 ft. Blue grama has an impressive root structure despite its short stature that can help improve soil quality and aid in erosion control.

However, if you’re planting blue grama as a turfgrass, you’ll need more supplemental watering than seven inches of rainfall. The more water the blue grama receives, the less likely the plant will grow into a bunchgrass.

Native ornamental grasses like blue grama are well-adapted to various soils, including sandy loam, gravel, and clay soil. If you plant in areas that receive full sun, your seedlings will flourish.

Blue grama flourishes in the summer months, from June to September. Once the blooming season is over, blue grama will turn a lovely gold and tan color as it prepares for dormancy. Blue grama provides excellent visual interest in ornamental plantings throughout the winter months.

The Benefits of Planting Blue Grama

Not only is blue grama attractive to the eye, but it helps support the local wildlife, livestock, and insects as well. Blue grama is a larval host for various moths and butterflies, meaning that caterpillars will receive their required nutrients for their metamorphosis by consuming the blue grama plant.

Blue grama is highly nutritious for livestock and wild animals to consume. However, be aware that you might have some unexpected visitors — such as deer, elk, jackrabbits, prairie dogs, and more — snacking on your grass fields.

The best part about planting blue grama grass seed: It’s low maintenance. The taller blue grama grows, the less water it requires to thrive. And if you turn your livestock onto a blue grama field, you won’t need to mow your lawn either.


Blue grama grass is an attractive addition to any grazing field, pasture, or wildflower meadow. This plant is highly nutritious for livestock, wild animals, butterflies, and birds. In addition, it’s low maintenance and drought tolerant when planted in its native habitat. So, it’s perfect for farmers with other crops to attend to.

Wondering how blue grama will grow in your yard? Contact the Granite Seed professionals with questions or concerns about blue grama. With our extensive catalog of available seeds, you’re bound to find the perfect plant to suit your gardening needs.

Species Attributes


1 - 24 in.

Life Form:

Bunchgrass Sodformer

Native or Introduced:




Sun & Shade Tolerance:

granite seed sun and shade tolerance icon




7 in.

Soil Texture


Moderately Coarse:




Moderately Fine:




Soil pH

Not Adapted





Seeding Rate:

2 - 3 PLS lbs/Acre

Pure Seed per Bushel:

9.10 lbs.

Seeds per Pound:


Germination Time:


Mycorrhizal Dependent:


Planting Season:



Bad River

A drought and cold tolerant cultivar adapted to northern latitudes. Establishes easily and provides excellent quality forage for summer grazing. Sod former with excellent seedling vigor and leafiness. (Released 1997, source of ecotype: Haskon county, SD)

Variety Release Notes:

Selected for large seed size and high seedling vigor. May be seeded deeper than other blue grama cultivars. (Released 1991, source of ecotype: selected by combining several cultivars)

Variety Release Notes:

A very palatable strain with good forage value into the fall and winter. Excellent drought tolerance and ability to withstand grazing. Also used for low-maintenance turf. (Released 1980, source of ecotype: Hachita, NM)

Variety Release Notes:

Similar to Hachita, but not considered as suitable for most plantings in the southwest. Excellent seedling vigor. (Released 1963, source of ecotype: Lovington, NM)

Bird’s Eye
Variety Release Notes:

USDA announces $40 million available to help ranchers restore sage grouse habitat. Click here to be taken to the USDA’s webpage for more information.

Attention Private Landowners! Usda Makes Funds Available For Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration


Contact us our experts are available to help with your reclamation, erosion control, turf and native seed projects.