Indian grass is a tall perennial bunching grass, usually grown as an ornamental. While technically a wild flower, it can be grown in the garden, and when planted with wild flowers, it makes for an effective wild garden. It is important environmentally for its forage uses and as a native habitat. It grows predominately in prairies and is a host plant for skipper butterflies.
Indian grass is a warm season grass and thrives in USDA zones 3 through 9. It grows wild in most of the Eastern states and in the Midwest. It does not grow well in the Pacific Coast states, west of the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, or in the Deep South.
Plant Indian grass seeds in the fall and they will sprout in late spring. It can be planted in moist soil, and can tolerate brief periods of winter flooding. It will grow in most soils but prefers rich, moist, silty loam. In addition to seeds, Indian grass also develops rhizomes. For best results, a field of Indian grass should be burned every three to five years. This will destroy the seeds but the rhizomes will quickly send up new growth, stronger and more luxuriant than before. A late springhead fire is best and annual burning will give the best results.
The Indian grass plant sheds its seeds in the fall and they need over wintering to grow. Choose a site for this plant with full sun, rich soil, and plenty of moisture for best growth. If mixing wild flowers in, choose ones that can sustain themselves, as Indian grass is aggressive and will take over weaker plants.
Avoid overgrazing, as Indian grass does not tolerate short grazing. Never cut shorter than four to six inches and don't allow any grazing the first year.