How to Care for Blue Fescue

If you’re finding ornamental grass to grow then blue fescue grass (Festuca glauca) is a great choice. This plant features needle-like blue-green foliage. The foliage grows 10 to 12 inches in height and spreads evenly. 

Blue fescue is an evergreen plant in USDA hardiness zones 4-8. The plants’ leaves love to shine in full sunlight. It also features tiny white flowers but mostly blue fescue grown for its ornamental foliage. 

It is a good ornamental plant that can be grown inside in pots, containers, or outside in the garden. You can grow them in garden borders and enjoy its hue blue-green leaves. 

Though blue fescue is grass, it is not used as ground cover or lawn cover plant because it features straight foliage which can be damaged if stepped on. 

How to care for blue fescue

Quick Guide

Common NameBlue fescue, blue fescue grass
Scientific NameFestuca glauca
Plant typePerennial grass
Mature Size9-12 inches taller and 6-9 inches wider
Sun ExposureFull sun 
Soil TypeDry, Average, well-drained soil
Soil pH5.5 – 7.5
Bloom TimeEarly Summer
Flower ColorGreenish to yellow
Hardiness Zones4 to 8 USDA (can be grown annual anywhere)
Native AreaCenter and South Europe

Where to grow

Festuca glauca

Blue fescue feather blue-green hue foliage which shines in full sunlight. Plant where it receives maximum sunlight. You can plant them in partial shade when the climate is extremely warm. 

When to grow

Blue fescue varieties grow best in a moderate climate, plant them in spring, or early summer. This plant is susceptible to extremely cold and warm conditions. You can protect them by spreading a thick layer of mulch or organic compost around. These substances will decompose over time and help to protect roots from heat and cold. It also prevents the growth of unwanted weeds around the plant.

How to propagate

Blue fescue can be propagated from seeds as well as from stem cuttings. It naturally spreads from seeds through air and pollinator insects like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. 

You can grow multiple blue fescues from seeds and stem cuttings. Though you can grow them from seeds, growing from stem cutting is a relatively faster and easier method.

Also, many blue fescue varieties cannot grow directly from seeds because they developed from the cross-breeding of two varieties. 

These blue fescue varieties do produce seeds but plants that thrive from these seeds are not similar to their parent plant.

So, if you have a new cultivar of blue fescue it’s better to propagate them from stem cutting or order its seeds online.

How to grow blue fescue from stem cuttings

Blue fescue features needle-like foliage that is separated from each other. You need to dig up its foliage with its roots to grow new plants. 

  • Gentally, dig up clumps of blue fescue foliage with the help of gardening scud. 
  • You can plant these foliage in pots, containers or directly in the garden beds.
  • If you’re planting in the pot, use a mediums sized pot that has adequate drainage holes.
  • These drainage holes will help to prevent excessive water and soggy soil. Plant foliage in dry, peat soil.
  • Water the plant thorughly when planting, in the beginning it needs more water to settle.
  • Once the plant gets established it becomes drought-tolerant. 
  • This plant takes a month to get established in the soil. You know the plant gets settled when it begins growing new leaves. 

How to Care for Blue Fescue

how to care for blue fescue

Blue Fescue does not need much care, this plant grows happily in full sun. The more sunlight it gets, it achieves its famous blue-green hue.

Light

Blue fescue is a bright grass-type plant, it prefers full sunlight to thrive continuously. It can tolerate shade, but much shade will not lead to good growth. 

Soil

This plant does not prefer too rich soil. Average, dry soil with good drainage will also lead to good growth.

Water

When blue fescue plants get established it becomes drought-tolerant. It likes moist soil and does not need too much water. The plant finds it difficult to survive in wet, soggy conditions. Water them once a week to keep the soil moist. In the rainy season, you do not need to water them.

Temperature and humidity

Blue fescue varieties prefer during early spring to early summers but also do well in moderately warm climates. But, in extreme heat and warm condition, its foliage can die back which shorten its lifespan. To prevent this, plant them where they get partial shade from a tree or shade.  

Fertilier

Blue fescue does not need a heavy feed of fertilizer. Soil compost around the plant will be enough to keep them growing. If you add too much fertilizer it will not lead to more foliage growth. Instead due to excessive nitrogen, its foliage can dry down.

How to Divide Blue fescue

  • You need to divide blue fescue in every 2-3 years of interval to keep them growing. The best time to divide – when frost end.
  • Blue fescue get greenish due to lack of sunlight in the winter season.
  • Dividing blue fescue is the same as digging up clumps from the ground. It does not have stem but only foliage, you need to toss out clumps of leaves with roots.
  • Use a gardening scub to dig or some other tool for the same, just dig wide enough to get root balls of the plant.
  • After digging up, divide the clump into sun-division with your fingure. Make a group of 4-5 leaves with a root balls. 
  • Seperates each stem roots with each other, you can use knife to sperate its roots.
  • Now, you can plant these clumps in different locations to grow new plants.

Blue fescue varieties

  • Boulder blue’ has silver blads.
  • Blaufink’ foliage features a compact and fine texture.
  • Elijah Blue’ is the most popular variety that has light-blue foliage. 
  • Golden Toupee’ are thin and straight which features chartreuse leaves. 
  • Harz’ is a variety that has olive green colored foliage which hints of purple sometimes.
  • Tom Thumbs’ variety is good for ground cover, it grows only inches tall.

Pruning

Pruning is an important part of growing ornamental grasses. Cutting back Blue Fescue foliage a few inches in the mid-spring will promote new growth and enhance its beauty.

To keep foliage look elegant, cut off or remove dead grass blades and flowers heads. Leaving flowers heads will promote the spread of grass in the area, this is fine if you want to cover the whole garden with fescue grasses.

When you want to keep it confined, snip off flower heads whenever you see them. Removing flower heads encourages dense, mound-shaped foliage because it redirects energy to grow new foliage. 

In the summer season, fescue foliage may die back due to excessive heat. In this situation, just give them a ‘haircut’, this will cut dead foliage and create space between its blads. 

Usually, the plant gets back to its original form when the moderate condition returns. 

If this does not happen you have to pluck them off from the ground and start growing new ones.

How to grow Blue Fescue from seeds

Growing Blue Fescue from seeds is easy. This is a wild and hardy grass that spreads and grows easily from seeds. 

Use a medium-sized peat pot with adequate drainage holes for good drainage.

Fill the pot with the soil mixed with seed-starting mix. They do not require too rich soil.

Sow three seeds of blue fescue per pot. Slightly press seeds against the soil and cover seeds with the soil.

Water regularly to keep the soil moist. 

In 10-20 days seeds will start germinating, within 2 months they will get well established.

Blue fescue can also grow easily outside. After frost or in late summer, just spread seeds in the garden bed, and water them regularly.

How to overwinter 

how to overwinter blue fescue

In the cold climate, blue fescues’ foliage turns brown, but many gardeners do not distribute them as it helps to protect roots. if you had grown them in a pot or container, cover them with a frost blanket, or bring them inside the home. In the garden, there is no good way to overwinter.

But, this does not hurt them much, if the roots of the plant are protected. You can spread mulch around them, it will protect roots from frost and prevent weed growth. 

Trim brown foliage in the next spring and with regular care, it will return to its original form. 

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