alkali sacaton

Sporobolus airoides (alkali sacaton) is a drought tolerant, warm season bunch grass. In late summer, the mounds of foliage are topped with a haze of pink flowers. Once these fade to seeds they attract many birds, especially including sparrows in our garden. This plant is native to much of North America west of the Mississippi river. It is very similar to the prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) that is common in our area and in Lurie Garden, but has slightly taller flower stalks and can take significantly drier conditions.

Botanical Name Sporobolus airoides
Common Name alkali sacaton
Family Poaceae
USDA Zone 4 thru 9
Light Requirement Full Sun
Season(s) of interest summer, fall, winter
Height and Spread 2-4ft x 2-3ft (60-120cm x 60-90cm)
Flower Color Pinkish Red
Attracts Wildlife Hosts Caterpillars of Butterflies/Moths, Rarely Browsed by Mammalian Herbivores
Additional Information Not Native to the US Midwest. Native range: Western United States
Location in Lurie Garden North Dark Plate


Average Flowering Time