Click on terms for botanical definitions.
Its dainty star-shaped flowers and are born atop flat, grasslike stems. Tepals are blue, but may appear purple or lavender, especially in photos. They darken as they near the center of the flower, which is bright yellow. They have obvious venation, are tipped with sharp points, and arch back toward the stem as the flower opens. Flowers generally open around noon in sunny conditions and close at the end of the day. Leaves are long, linear, flattened and basal. Seeds develop in capsules that wrinkle and turn dark brown as they mature.
The grasslike appearance of both stems and leaves give Blue-eyed grass its common name. However, it is in no way related to the grass family. There are several species of Sisyrinchium native to Florida, but S. angustifolium is generally the only species available for the home landscape.
Family: Iridaceae (Iris family)
Native range: Throughout Florida
To see where natural populations of blue-eyed grass have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Moderately dry, moist or wet sandy, loamy or calcareous soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: 6–12” tall
Propagation: Seed, division
Garden tips: Blue-eyed grass’ low profile makes it an excellent groundcover that will provide a carpet of green through the year and masses of blue flowers in the spring. Planting in full sun and moist sandy soil will result in denser foliage and more flowers, but it is somewhat adaptable to drier and shadier conditions. It is a prolific self-seeder provided there are multiple plants; solitary plants typically don’t produce viable seed. It will also spread by underground rhizomes to create fuller stands, but is not an aggressive spreader. Blue-eyed grass does not transplant well in full summer heat, so plants should be installed in fall or winter to insure that they are well established before summer.
Blue-eyed grass plants are often available from nurseries that specialize in Florida native plants. Visit www.PlantRealFlorida.org to find a nursery in your area.