Alopecurus Pratensis: Meadow Foxtail Information and Care

Alopecurus Pratensis, or Meadow Foxtail, is known for its beautiful long tubular flower heads. Why should you consider it and how to grow it?

Meadow foxtail is a tufted perennial grass with long tubular flower heads that resemble fox tails. It can grow to be 3 feet tall and is one of the first grasses to bloom every year.

Today, we will learn about alopecurus pratensis, or meadow foxtail, and how to care for it.

General Information

Meadow foxtail is a long-lived grass native to Europe and Asia. It has naturalized in North and South America and Australia. The plant is most prevalent from April to June, although it can be spotted year-round. 

Meadows, grasslands, marshes, forest margins, and river valleys are all suitable habitats.

Individual plants typically grow in loose tufts with short underlying roots. It produces spike-like inflorescences of small flowers in late spring and summer.

The culms are unbranched, terete, smooth, hollow, and grow upwards. The silky, dark green leaves can grow up to 10 inches long.

Because it is a tall grass, it serves as a sanctuary for a variety of invertebrate species. It is also a food source for caterpillars.

alopecurus grass in the meadow

Care and Maintenance

Meadow foxtail maintains its green color throughout the winter, adding charm to the landscape. It’s a resilient plant that requires little care once it’s established.


This grass flourishes in rich, moist, or swampy soils. For proper growth, it prefers full sun and mesic soil conditions. 

This grass is more tolerant to brackish water than most other grasses. It grows well on neutral-pH clay, loam, or sand.


Meadow foxtail requires regular watering in normal conditions, but it will need more moisture during hot summer days. However, avoid overwatering in the winter. 

In milder climates, it thrives with irrigation and is acclimated to irrigated meadows, whether it is sown alone or combined with other grasses and legumes.

moist grass in after the rain


Rake away dead foliage and old flowering stalks in the spring to improve the foliage shape. Prune to control growth and keep the foliage upright.

Because this grass can tolerate repeated pruning, it can be used as a fodder plant.


Alopecurus pratensis can be propagated through both seed and rhizomes. Its seeds germinate quickly. 

In most of the regions where meadow foxtail is acclimated, spring sowing on cultivated fields is ideal. Because of the fluffy seeds, machine seeding is difficult. 

Growth begins early in the spring and continues throughout the summer if there is enough moisture.


Meadow foxtail is useful for fodder production in locations that are too moist for other grasses to grow. Originally introduced as a pasture grass, it flourishes throughout a lengthy grazing season when conditions are favorable. 

It’s a nutrient-dense plant with large basal leaves compared to other grasses. It is preferred by livestock, especially cattle and sheep.

It is also primarily grown for hay in Europe’s wetlands. It produces high-quality hay if harvested early enough.

Beautiful, variegated forms of this species, such as ‘aureo-variegatus’ and ‘aureus,’ are widely used as decorative grasses in gardens.

beautiful belgian alopecurus grass sunrise

Companion Plants

Planting grasses along with wildflowers creates a floral prairie, resulting in visually appealing and diverse plant combinations. 

Grape Hyacinths

Grape hyacinths are charming perennial beauties with brilliant colors that look great in small groupings or large, colorful clusters. These versatile flowering plants flourish in forests and meadows, making them excellent for use in any naturalized setting.

The grape hyacinth pairs well with many other spring bloomers. They can be grown in pots or beds, brought indoors for winter growth, or left to grow naturally in the wild.


If you’re looking for something gorgeous to fill a large garden space instantly, try growing ajuga, or bugleweed. This wildflower’s bright blue flower spikes provide a lush carpet of vegetation in wet rolling hills and grasslands.

Ajuga grows best in partial shade. Once established, bugleweed can easily grow and cover large areas each spring.

ajuga mid tall grass with purple flowers


Dahlias come in a variety of colors, textures, sizes, and flower patterns. They bloom from midsummer through winter.

The plant size ranges from a small border variety to 6-foot shrubs with plate-sized flowers. Regardless of type, most dahlias have tall, upright stems that show off their flowers. 

Dahlias are an excellent choice for garden flowers that produce truly spectacular flowers in a variety of vibrant colors.

orange dahlia flower full bloom
Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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