Sunday, July 11, 2010
Blue-eyed Grass - Sisyrinchium angustifolium
Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) is a member of the iris family and common to open moist habitats throughout Florida. This is a perennial evergreen species which blooms profusely in the spring and then spends the rest of the year as a clump of thin grass-like leaves. At this stage, it is sometimes difficult to detect.
Like other irises, blue-eyed grass slowly spreads outwards by forming "pups" off of the main leaf cluster. These can be easily divided and planted elsewhere if you desire to move this plant to other locations in your landscape, or allowed to slowly spread outward to form largers clusters. If left alone, individual plants eventually become at least 1 foot wide, but never taller than about 6 inches.
Blooming occurs on stiff flower stalks which may stand a foot or so above the leaf mass. The flowers are often bright blue with a yellow center, but many color forms are available from nurseries that range from deep purple to rose pink. Individual flowers are open for only about a day, but flowers open successively on each stalk for several weeks and each stalk can have multiple flowers open at any one time. Well-developed plants can have many flower stalks and a mass of blue-eyed grass can be quite attractive.
Although it prefers moist soils, blue-eyed grass can be grown in most typical landscape settings - if additional water is provided during periods of extended drought. Use this plant along walkways and the edges of planting beds and plant it in mass. Individual plants should be spaced about 6-8 inches apart and then allowed to grow into each other to form a single mass. Eventually, masses benefit from being divided. Use a sharp-edged spade and move them to a moist location so they can be easily established or into pots until their root masses re-develop.
Because of its versatility, beauty and good behavior, blue-eyed grass is widely propagated and sold commercially. We have several color forms in our landscape and always welcome its colorful display each spring.