Plant Profile: Sisyrinchium angustifolium-Blue-eyed Grass
Updated: Aug 25, 2022
Common plant names sometimes appear as oxymorons or misnomers. One such instance is Sisyrinchium angustifolium, commonly known as Blue-eyed Grass. Not a grass at all, but a foot tall member of the Iris family, this little plant with grass-like leaves makes a delightful addition to one’s garden. For about a month in late spring/early summer true blue flowers with a yellow eye bloom on neat, compact plants, perhaps re-blooming sporadically again in late summer. These cheery flowers remain closed each day until warmed by the sun, rewarding an assortment of bees and flies with pollen and nectar.
Being a diminutive, tidy plant, Blue-eyed Grass lends itself to garden edges as well as adjacent to paths and walkways where it can be appreciated up close. Preference is for full or partial sun and moist to average conditions, with best growth in a rich loam that is high in organic matter. Light shade is also tolerated, but flowers will be fewer in number. If pleased with its setting, Blue-eyed Grass will reward the gardener by gradually forming larger clumps and producing distinctive seedlings.
The straight species, Sisyrinchium angustifolium, is joined in the market place by naturally occurring selections, with ‘Lucerne’ and ‘Suwannee’ being most widely encountered. Both exhibit more compact growth, larger, more abundant flowers, and are less prone to self-seeding than the species. Whichever option one chooses, the result will be a fun addition in the landscape.