blue grama grass ‘blonde ambition’

Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ (blue grama grass ‘Blonde Ambition’). A Poaceae native to the prairies and plains of central and western United States and southern Canada, including Illinois. Blue grama attracts numerous birds and serves as a larval host for the Garita skipperling (Oarism garita). The cultivar ‘Blonde Ambition’ is a selection from naturally-occurring wild plants, chosen for the unique color of its flowers and seed heads.

Plants of B. gracilis grow up to 2.5 ft. tall with a 1.5 ft. spread, in garden conditions. Blue grama is a tuft-forming grass that, like other prairie-adapted native grasses, is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions and demonstrates excellent drought tolerance. Bouteloua gracilis does not grow will in constantly wet soils, as this soil condition will promote root and crown rot in the species.

Leaves of blue grama are narrow and display a blue-gray color, turning brown in fall and persisting throughout the winter. The seed heads of ‘Blonde Ambition’ are the real show-stoppers for this plant, bearing chartreuse-tinged flowers arranged in horizontal eyelash-like structures presented perpendicular to the upright flowering stems. Seed heads turn a bright blonde in fall and persist through the winter. The unique structure and color of seed heads on ‘Blonde Ambition’ make for terrific conversation starters in the garden.

Botanical Name
Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’
Common Name
blue grama grass ‘Blonde Ambition’
Family Poaceae
USDA Zone 3 to 10
Light Requirement Full Sun
Season(s) of interest Summer, Fall, Winter
Height and Spread
0.75-2.5ft x 0.75-1.5ft (22-75cm x 22-45cm)
Flower Color Small, Purple-tinged flowers
Attracts Wildlife
Additional Information
Cultivated Form of a Plant Native to the Chicago Region
Location in Lurie Garden
Northwest Light Plate, Southwest Light Plate, Southeast Light Plate