Andropogon Virginicus: Broomsedge Information and Care

Andropogon Virginicus, or Broomsedge, is an attractive, warm-season perennial grass. Why should you consider it and how to grow it?

The warm-season perennial grass Andropogon virginicus, which forms a thick tuft of blooming culms, is attractive throughout the year. Linear, pubescent leaves that emerge light to medium green in the spring become a rich orange to coppery-red in the autumn. Even in the winter, this plant is incredibly stunning.

There are many applications for this durable architectural sedge, including creating shelters for animals and adding color to your landscape. Andropogon virginicus is known as broomsedge because it was historically used to make brooms.

Want to know more about Andropogon virginicus? Keep reading to learn how to care for this plant and utilize them in landscapes properly.

the andropogon virginicus growing in the forest

General Information

Andropogon virginicus is a slim bunch of leaves with an erect or vase-shaped habit and thick fibrous roots. They may reach 3 or more feet in height, with a spread of 2 to 3 feet. 

This pioneer species is widespread in the eastern, southeastern, and Great Lakes regions of the United States. The native habitat of broomsedge includes abandoned fields, prairies in the early to mid-successional stages, disturbed roadside vegetation, railroad right-of-ways, pastures, depleted mining ground, and arid wastelands.

The linear leaves are around 12 inches long by 14 inches broad, and the sheath or base of the leaf curves around the stem. At the base of the plant, a collection of straw-colored remains of old leaves and stems may be seen.

In the late summer and early autumn, panicles of bristle-tipped spikelets are capped on culms. The blooms and seed heads have tufts of silky white hair that cover them and give them a feathery look. Foliage and seed heads take on a lovely golden orange hue in the winter.

Broom sedge is crucial ecologically for stabilizing the soil in freshly burnt areas. The plant provides shelter for birds and small animals, and the new blades are a food source.

perennial grass with linear brown leaves

Care and Maintenance

Full sunlight, dry circumstances, and sterile soil composed of clay, sand, gravel, or other rocky material are ideal for the growth of broomsedge. The sedge can also endure situations with less light and more moisture. This sedge’s withered foliage stands upright throughout the winter and the following summer, even though it has lost its ability to produce new leaves. It can survive in hot, dry conditions.

How to Use it in Landscapes

Andropogon virginicus is a pioneer soil stabilizing sedge and may grow up to four feet tall with seed heads. It will keep its gorgeous orange-golden color throughout the winter, making it a spectacular addition to large-scale plantings. It helps retain soil in meadow gardens and other natural settings.

Erosion control, rain gardens, and stormwater management are all beneficial applications for this plant. It is suitable for water-sensitive landscapes, meadows, roadsides, and restoration projects.

an orange-golden andropogon virginicus

Companion Plants

Since broomsedge provides volume and color to a garden, try incorporating it with plants that don’t just complement but have similar cultivation needs. Below are some of the best companion plants for broomsedge.

1. Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)

Butterfly weed is a must-have for gardeners hoping to attract the plant’s namesake winged insects. This clump-forming perennial has tuberous roots that grow to one to two feet. It has glossy-green, lance-shaped leaves and a profusion of clusters of vivid orange-to-yellow blossoms bursting with nectar and pollen.

An open area with six to eight hours of sunlight each day is ideal for development. This plant can withstand dryness, sterility, and rocky conditions but thrives in dry to medium-average, well-drained soil. Except in arid conditions, butterfly weed doesn’t need irrigation.

Various environments, including open woodlands, prairies, dry fields, meadows, and the sides of roads, are where butterfly weed naturally flourishes. This plant makes a lovely accent to mass plantings, borders, wildflower meadows, and rock gardens. It is easy to grow, requires little maintenance, and has few pest problems.

a beautiful bloom of asclepias tuberosa

2. Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed)

New York ironweed is a tall, clump-forming perennial with a height range of 5 to 8 feet. Dark green, lance-shaped leaves are produced on somewhat rough stalks. It has large, loosely branching, flat-topped terminal clusters with small flower heads. All of the flowers are rich reddish-purple and disk-shaped.

Even though they do their best in full sun, New York ironweed plants may tolerate little shade. The minimum daily need for this plant is four hours of direct sunshine, but six to eight hours is preferable. Ironweeds are tough plants that can adapt to various soil types. However, they naturally prefer wet, loamy soil with a somewhat acidic pH.

This plant may be positioned in narrow places or towards the rear of borders. Its seed heads attract birds, while its blossoms draw butterflies.

3. Echinacea tennesseensis (Tennessee Coneflower)

Echinacea tennesseensis, a native of the United States, is sometimes known as Tennessee coneflower. A daisy-like coneflower with slightly upturned petals, rose-purple in hue, and spiky, coppery center disks with a green tinge (ray flowers). There is a prolonged summer flowering period from June through August. Flowers are produced on 2½-foot tall stiff stalks with linear, dark green leaves.

This plant prefers full sun, which calls for at least six hours of direct sunlight each day; however, it may need some shade in hotter areas. It would thrive in average to medium soil as long as the ground had enough drainage. There are no serious pest or disease problems with this plant, and it needs minimal maintenance.

Tennessee coneflower is grown in masses, much like other coneflowers, in the border, meadow, naturalized area, wildflower garden, or somewhat shaded region of the woodland garden.

glorious pink echinacea tennesseensis flower

4. Rudbeckia fulgida (Black-Eyed Susan)

Reliable and low-maintenance, the black-eyed Susan has become a common garden plant. Broad, rough-textured, ovate-shaped, brilliant yellow petals with black centers rise in daisy-like rays above the foliage. Depending on the cultivar, this plant grows in upright clusters that may reach heights of one to three feet.

They need little upkeep, attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and birds, and can withstand deer predation. The black-eyed Susan is a plant that respects the light and can withstand neglect. They thrive in strong, direct sunshine and on damp, well-draining soil.

They provide weeks of vibrant color and bloom lavishly from the beginning of summer until frost, which makes them a superb option for mixed borders, cutting gardens, grasslands, and meadows, as well as for accent plants in mass plantings. They are an excellent option for extensive plantings because of their prodigious blooming from early summer till frost.

a beautiful bloom of rudbeckia fulgida flower
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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