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Blonde Ambition Blue Grama

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' PP22048

Mature Height*: 

1-2.5 ft

Mature Width*: 

1-3 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone Range:

4 to 9

Hardy to: 

-30°F

Water Requirements: 

Moderate Water

Shade Requirements:

Full Sun

Native to:

From Manitoba Canada south and west across the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, and Midwest states to Mexico

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition,' commonly known as Blue Grama, stands as an exceptional choice for landscape architects and designers seeking a native and visually appealing grass species for their projects. With its unique form, cold hardiness, adaptive nature, and distinctive flowering habit, this grass adds a touch of elegance to diverse landscape designs.

Origin and Adaptability:

Hailing from the prairies of North America, Blue Grama is deeply rooted in the native landscapes of the Great Plains. This grass's adaptation to a wide range of soil types and climates makes it an ideal candidate for landscape designs, particularly those aiming to evoke a sense of natural beauty and sustainability. The initial specimen of Blonde Ambition was unearthed by the now-deceased David Salman in a Santa Fe, New Mexico setting in 2008. Flourishing at approximately 6,800 feet above sea level, this cultivated variety is a deviation from the prevalent Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) native to the western Great Plains. Notably, it distinguishes itself from the species through its heightened ornamental features.

Architectural Form and Foliage:

Blue Grama exhibits a distinctive bunchgrass growth habit with fine-textured, blue-green foliage. Its unique seed heads, resembling delicate eyelashes, lend an architectural elegance to the landscape. Designers can leverage the grass's clumping nature to create visually interesting patterns and textures within their designs.

Floral Display and Growth Speed:

The highlight of 'Blonde Ambition' is its captivating seed heads, which are held horizontally and develop a blonde hue as they mature. Flowers are minuscule chartreuse displays. This adds a dynamic element to the landscape, especially when the grass is backlit by the sun. The speed of growth for Blue Grama is moderate, allowing designers to plan and implement their designs with a good understanding of the grass's development over time. Fibrous roots and deciduous leaf retention should be a consideration when planting.

Light Requirements and Drought Tolerance:

Blue Grama thrives in full sun, showcasing its best qualities when exposed to abundant sunlight. Its excellent drought tolerance and dislike of wet and humidity make it an invaluable asset for water-wise landscape designs. This adaptability to arid conditions allows designers to incorporate Blue Grama into a variety of projects in the Desert Southwest, contributing to sustainable and resilient outdoor spaces. If extreme heat is a concern, the grass can be planted in partial shade.

Wildlife Support:

The unique seed heads of 'Blonde Ambition' serve not only as a visual delight but also attract birds and other wildlife. The seeds provide a food source for birds, adding an ecological dimension to landscape designs that prioritize biodiversity and habitat creation.

Challenges and Considerations:

While Blue Grama is a relatively low-maintenance grass, designers should consider its growth habit and space requirements. At 32” tall and wide, it is considered a relatively large grass. The clumping nature of the grass can be strategically used to create naturalistic arrangements, but understanding its mature size is crucial for effective design implementation. It appreciates being divided every 3 to 5 years.

Integration into Landscape Designs:

With its native charm, adaptability, and distinctive seed heads, Blue Grama seamlessly integrates into both traditional and contemporary landscape designs. Designers can use it as a ground cover, in mass plantings, or as an accent within a xeriscape, providing versatility in design applications.

Designing with Blue Grama:

Landscape architects can leverage the unique characteristics of 'Blonde Ambition' to enhance the visual appeal and ecological sustainability of their designs. Whether employed in meadow-inspired landscapes or as a focal point within a garden, Blue Grama contributes to the creation of resilient and aesthetically pleasing outdoor environments.

For landscape architects and designers, Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' offers an opportunity to incorporate a native grass species that adds visual interest, supports wildlife, and aligns with sustainability principles, contributing to the creation of harmonious and resilient outdoor spaces.

*Height and width estimated for growth in the Tucson, AZ area. True sizes may vary.

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