About Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' (Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass)

The original plant of Blonde Ambition was discovered by David Salman in a Santa Fe, NM landscape in 2008. Growing at an elevation of about 6,800 ft., the cultivar is a variant of the dominant western Great Plains grass, Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) but differs significantly from the species with its enhanced ornamental characteristics. After several years of testing and propagation of stock, the grass was dual introduction released through both High Country Gardens catalog and Colorado's Plant Select® plant introduction program in 2011.

History: 

  • Blonde Ambition is very distinctive new introduction with a look that's completely different from any other ornamental grass in the marketplace. 

 

  • It's an unusually large growing form of blue grama reaching a height and wide of 28 to 32 inches. 

 

  • It is a vegetatively propagated grass, done by divisions of the plant's crown all descended from the original mother plant. As a result, this beautiful grass has excellent uniformity and vigor that results in outstanding landscape performance.

 

  • It's a warm season, clumping grass species, that greens up into active growth by late spring and flowers in mid-summer on top of tall, thin  green stems. Here, the chartreuse, eye lash shaped flowers age to Nordic blonde seed heads by mid-fall. 

 

  • These flag-like seed heads are held horizontally on sturdy stems through the winter to provide long term beauty until cut back in mid-spring. 

Characteristics: 

Ornamental Uses:

  • The large height and spread (28-32" tall x 28-32" wide) puts it into the mid-sized ornamental grass grouping. Which makes Blonde Ambition is an excellent companion plant for flowering perennials and other grasses.  

  • Tidy enough for formal designs and an excellent choice for naturalistic designs and habitat-friendly landscapes.

 

  • A natural companion for other  popular ornamental grasses like Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium), Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia) and Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis).  ​​

Maintenance:

  • Blonde Ambition is a sturdy cultivar of a Great Plains native species, blue grama grass.

 

  • A warm season growing clump grass, it should be cut back to the height of 2 to 4 inches in mid-spring before it goes into active growth with the warm nights of late spring. With gloved hands or a three tine hand cultivator, scratch out the interior of the clump to remove thatch and make room for interior grow at the center of the clump.

  • Divide once every 3 to 5 years in early to mid-spring. As the grass begins to ring (the center of the clump looses vigor and new growth is around the outer edge, it's time to divide. Dig out each clump with a modest root ball and cut the clump into quarters, removing any dead roots and stems. Throw some compost and natural/organic fertilizer into the hole and back-fill and replant the quarter clump pieces.

  • It is not a heavy feeder, so avoid high nitrogen fertilizers and instead apply balanced natural or organic fertilizers mixed with a little compost in mid- to late fall. Topdress around the clump and scratch it into the soil surface and irrigate to activate the soil organisms. 

Regional Suitability:

  • The species, Bouteloua gracilis is native to 28 states in the U.S. and 5 Canadian provinces. Blonde Ambition, being a cultivar selection of this species is well adapted for use across much of the U.S. and most of Canada. It is USDA zone 4 cold hardy and tolerates warm winter temperatures in USDA zone 9.  

  • In higher rainfall regions (above 25 inches annually) fast draining, non-clay soil is best. Plant on 3 1/2 to 4 ft. centers to allow for good air circulation and sunlight penetration.

  • Avoid regions with very high humidity, intense summer heat and hot nights. The Gulf Coast, Florida and the Deep South (Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia) are too moist and too hot at night for Blonde Ambition to thrive.  

Sales Information and Photos for Blonde Ambition:

  • In Texas, the entire Gulf Coast as well as Houston are not suitable habitats. In Austin and San Antonio this grass can suffer in years with excessive amounts of rain, but do well in other less wet and drought years. But once onto the Edwards plateau further north and west from San Antonio and Austin,  Blonde Ambition is a star choice. 

  • Blonde Ambition has outstanding tolerance to dry heat and thrives in the desert Southwest, even Phoenix and Tucson.

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ABOUT Blonde Ambition

 
 
 
 
 
 

© 2016 by WATERWISE Gardening, LLC  | Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass - PP#22,048