Festuca glauca – Blue fescue

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Festuca glauca - Blue fescue

Festuca glauca- Blue fescue is a clump forming evergreen grass. Grown for its striking blue-green foliage. In late spring into early summer it produces tiny light blue-green flowers, these are followed by grass seed heads.

Blue fescue is a great choice for mass plantings and foliage contrast. A very popular landscape plant.

Tolerates a wide variety of soil types as long as the are not boggy. To remove dead foliage its easiest to cut the whole plant down to almost ground level. It will quickly re-shoot. Tolerates periods of dryness and is frost hardy.

Cultural notes

Botanical name: Festuca Glauca

Common name: Blue Fescue

Family: Poaceae

Native to: Everywhere except Antartica

Flowers: late spring-summer

Position: Full sun/Part shade

Height: 30cm

Width: 30cm

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Is blue fescue native to Australia?

Well fescues are distributed throughout the world and are found on every temperate landmass. Having said that it is my understand that blue fescue (festuca glauca) is actually native to South Africa. As with many South African natives we have claimed them as they do so well in our climate.

How long will blue fescue live?

Blue fescue isn't a terribly long lived plant. Most clumps will live for about 4 years. It can bed trimmed down to ground level to force it to sprout nice new foliage. Dividing it every couple of years will ensure you always have healthy clumps on the go.

What plants go well with blue fescue?

Other grasses such as poa labillardierei (common tussock grass), Pennisetum setaceum (Red foxtail grass) and Pennisetum alopecuriodes (Fountain grass or swamp foxtail). They also look good planted amongst structural plants like cordylines or nandinas.

Is blue fescue poisonous to pets?

No. Its fine to plant in gardens with pets.

Can blue fescue be grown in the shade?

Part shade yes. It actually does quite well under trees where it can often be quite dry and tough to grow other plants. But it still requires light. It won't grow in full shade.

Pests and diseases

None that we have had to worry about. Festuca glauca is pretty tough!

Will blue fescue die off during winter?

No. Blue fescue is an evergreen grass. From time to time the foliage may look ratty. Anytime this happens you can cut it down to ground level or divide it. This will rejuvenate the foliage and bring it back to that beautiful frosted blue colour.

How do you propagate blue fescue?

We propagate blue fescue by division. It's quick its easy. Provided you get some root you'll be guaranteed success. Division can be carried out anytime of year.

In the past we have also propagated it using seed. This is also effective but takes longer to produce plants for the garden. If you want to try growing by seed use a good quality seed starter potting mix.