Andropogon gerardii 'Red October' PP26283 Red October Big Bluestem

This new Big Bluestem cultivar was originally chosen for its narrow leaves and upright habit, but it’s the foliage color everyone is talking about. Leaves start deep green with red highlights in spring. As fall approaches, the red increases and deepens to burgundy. Then, after the first frost, foliage turns candy-apple-red hues mixed with scarlet. Even the turkey-foot shaped seed heads of Red October Big Bluestem are shades of red. The effect is stunning, especially when planted in mixed-perennial, fall-blooming borders, where a 6’ height is an asset. This native ornamental grass is tough like the species, but with a red-themed twist. Andropogon gerardii ‘Red October’ PP26283 was introduced by Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Inc. whose goal is to breed and select reliable plants capable of withstanding tough conditions and “stand the test of time.”

  • Native to North America
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Banks / Slopes
  • Notable Fall Color
  • Hoffman Nursery Favorite
  • Growth rate: medium-fast
  • Grow in 1 or 2 gallon containers (or larger)
  • Grow in well-drained soil
  • Water needs: keep evenly moist; avoid overwatering
  • Fertilizing: use a slow release, low-medium rate fertilizer; avoid over-fertilzing
  • Possible pests: aphids, leaf spot, spidermites, rust
  • Overwintering: cold frame with clear poly, keep dry; if overwintering outdoors, water levels must be monitored
  • Do not over-fertilize: causes flopping, reduced resistance to pests and fungal problems.
  • Note: please adapt these suggestions as needed to accommodate your local conditions


  • Brilliant red, late-season color
  • Linear, upright habit creates an accent
  • Cold hardy to Zone 3
  • Cultivar of North American tall prairie grass
  • Tolerates poor soil and drought
  • Deer and critter resistant
  • Seeds provide food for wildlife
  • Withstands hot, humid summers and cold, wet winters in the landscape