Festuca Arizonica: Arizona Fescue Information and Care

Arizona fescue is a bunchgrass that is a wonderful addition to gardens. Why should you consider it and how to grow it?

Arizona fescue is a native bunchgrass grown as small ornamental grass in gardens. Its blue-green foliage provides interest and color to the landscape.

Let us learn more about the Arizona Fescue, its care requirements, and its uses.

General Information

Festuca arizonica is a perennial plant in the true grass family. It is a cool-season, long-lived, bunch grass native to the Southwest of the United States. It grows 1 to 3 feet tall from a densely tufted base and has yellow flowers and simple, broad basal leaves. Arizona fescue plants live for 10 to 20 years, with most growth occurring during the rainy season. 

The grass is typically found growing in shallow clay loam, loam, and sandy to gravely soils. They have a strong root structure and a self-supporting growing habit making them excellent soil binders. 

The stems are densely packed and can reach heights of 6 to 39 inches. Flowers and panicles appear just above the leaves. In the early summer, it produces thin, erect seedheads, and as the summer heats up and dries out, Arizona fescue turns a pale tan. 

Care and Maintenance

Fescue is resistant to several illnesses that can affect other grasses. Although it is considered low-maintenance grass, it can perform better in the landscape with proper care.


Arizona fescue thrives best in open, sunny areas, but it will tolerate some shade. Its preferred habitats are moist but well-drained soils. It is tolerant of gravelly, sandy, or rocky soils. It is commonly found in locations with dry, shallow clay loam soils.

a thin bush of festuca arizonica grass


Arizona fescue is drought-tolerant and requires very little water. It is a charming addition to water-conserving landscapes but will go dormant under extreme summer temperatures. A good practice is to water down to the roots once a month.


Arizona Fescue does not require regular trimming. Old stalks and leaves can be trimmed in late winter before new growth begins. 


Arizona fescue can be propagated through seed or division. Divide and replant in the spring when the weather warms up. Although this species does not spread via rhizomes, it can regenerate from buried structures even after top-killing.

Landscape Uses

Arizona fescue can help improve grasslands and reduce soil erosion.

It is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a small, native decorative grass for a low-water location. This grass is ideal for xeriscaping, which is landscaping designed for water conservation purposes in drought-prone areas.

This grass’s primary function is revegetation and stabilization of damaged soils, roads, and ski slopes. It is also an excellent border plant for dry landscapes, specimens, groupings, massing, drifts, etc.

The vegetative components of Arizona fescue are palatable to both livestock and wildlife. However, it is not trample-resistant and does not adapt well to pastures and continuous grazing pressure.

Companion Plants

Arizona fescue flourishes when mixed with other plants that require similar growing conditions. The greatest companions for this grass are plants that can withstand drought and shade.


The low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and long-blooming coreopsis plant can be used to fill a bed or border. These plants grow in upright clumps and produce profusions of bright, showy daisy-like flowers all summer.

Some varieties have broad green leaves, while others have narrower leaves. The plant’s round seeds, which resemble ticks, inspired one of its common names, tickseed.

During the fall and winter, birds and other animals love eating the seeds. Bees and butterflies are drawn to the colorful flowers in the blooming season.

yellow coreopsis flowers in the garden


Stipa is native to temperate grasslands of the Americas, Southern Europe, and Africa, where it is an essential fodder plant.

Several species and varieties are popular landscaping plants due to their appearance. They feature tall panicles of white or buff flowers and graceful arching clusters of curled leaves.

Stipa grasses are distinguished by their long awns and tufted, clumping patterns. Stipa gives movement, elegance, and calmness to any landscape.


Flax is an upright annual plant that grows 3 to 4 feet tall. It bears small five-petaled flowers that come in sky blue, white, or light pink colors.

Watering a growing flax plant is usually unnecessary because flax prefers dry soil. If conditions are right, flax will self-seed and thrive. 

The flax flower is a cup-shaped annual or perennial that produces flowers that last only a day. A single early spring planting yields a profusion of flax blooms in late spring and summer.

beautiful purple flax flowers
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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