Grama Grass

Bouteloua spp

Flowers: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Status: Native
Origin: Widely distributed across North America. Found in Arizona in grass-dominated ecosystems above 3500′
Family: Poaceae
Size: Varies by species
Sun: Full, but shade from afternoon summer sun.
Watering: Regular during the warm and hot seasons.
Growth Rate:
Soil: Tolerant, but prefers good drainage
Temperature: Tolerant
Pruning: Can be sheared in late winter
Disease and Pests: None
Uses: Larval host for several species of skippers, Hualapai buckmoth and Veined Ctenucha moth
Notes: ‘Blonde Ambition’ is a popular B. gracilis cultivar for the Phoenix area

Arizona species include:

  • Sprucetop Grama (Bouteloua chondrosioides) – small bunchgrass about 1’ tall with delicate fuzzy spikes from which hang showy bright orange anthers. Grow in full sun to light shade.
  • Side-oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) – a bunch grass about 2’ tall with tall, narrow inflor escences with the spikelets arranged on one side of the stem. Grow in full sun to light shade.
  • Black Grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) – a low bunchgrass that spreads by aerial stolons. Numerous fine leaves and multiple stems give a mounding look to it. Grow in full sun.
  • Hairy Grama (Bouteloua hirsuta) – a medium-sized bunchgrass forming robust clumps. May spread by seed. Grow in full sun to light shade.
  • Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) – a medium-sized delicate appearing bunchgrass. It readily reproduces by seed. Grow in full sun to light shade. ‘Hachita’ is a dwarf form
  • Slender Grama (Bouteloua repens) – smaller bunchgrass well adapted to desert conditions. Can be removed from irrigation once established. Grow in full sun. Will spread by seed.
  • Rothrock Grama (Bouteloua rothrockii) – an attractive medium-sized bunchgrass. It stays narrow and has tall, slender flower spikes, giving it a delicate appearance. Grow in full sun.
  • Needle Grama (Bouteloua aristidoides)
  • Six Weeks Grama (Bouteloua Barbata)


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