Taxonomy of Blue Fescue Grass:
Plant taxonomy classifies Elijah Blue blue fescue grass as Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue.' Festuca is Latin for "stalk," while glauca is the Latin word for "bluish-gray." Elijah Blue (sometimes given as "Elijah's Blue") is a cultivar name.
Blue fescue grass is a clumping ornamental grass.
Characteristics of Blue Fescue Grass:
As its Latin specific epithet (glauca) suggests, blue fescue grass bears a bluish-gray or "glaucous" color. This color is its chief selling point and beautifully complements the silvery foliage of a plant such as lamb’s ears. Blue fescue grass is also one of the drought-tolerant ornamental grasses and a type that is shorter than many (usually a bit under 1' x 1').
Planting Zones for Blue Fescue Grass:
Elijah Blue blue fescue grass can be grown in planting zones 4-8. Festuca glauca is indigenous to Europe.
Sun and Soil Requirements for Blue Fescue Grass:
Plant Elijah Blue in full sun and in a well-drained soil. The more sun this ornamental grass receives, the more likely it is to achieve its signature blue-gray color.
Uses for Blue Fescue Grass in Landscaping:
Because it is a relatively short ornamental grass, Elijah Blue can be used in the front rows of flower beds, without risk of obscuring views and/or shading. Its fine plant texture provides a nice contrast to plants with coarse textures. Use it as a ground cover en masse and/or in conjunction with mulch. The drought tolerance of this ornamental grass makes it a popular plant for rock gardening.
Plant Care for Blue Fescue Grass:
In cold climates, blue fescue grass often turns brown in winter; but many leave it standing, to help protect the roots from cold. Cut back the foliage in early spring. Elijah Blue is often said to be "short-lived," but you can divide it every few years for rejuvenation -- which takes much of the sting out of that "short-lived" label.
Blue Fescue Grass Flowers, Seeds:
The stalks that emerge out of clumps of blue fescue grass in summer bear light green flowers that are insignificant. Some growers enjoy the seed heads that follow the flowers, but others remove the stalks, preferring their blue fescue grass to keep its "tufted" look.
Don't confuse this ornamental grass with tall fescue, which is often found in lawns. Older varieties of the latter are sometimes considered grassy weeds, while newer types are valued as low-care turfgrasses.