Botanical Name: Sporobolus airoides
Common Name: Alkali Sacaton; Alkali Dropseed  
Plant photo of: Sporobolus airoides
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Water Saving Tip:

Change spray sprinklers to low-flow bubbler or drip systems. Shrubs and trees are ideal candidates for this type of irrigation because the water is applied directly to the root zones.

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type

Ground cover, Perennial, Grass


Height Range

1-3', 3-6'


Flower Color



Flower Season



Leaf Color



Bark Color



Fruit Color



Fruit Season






Very Low, Low


Growth Rate



Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam, Rocky, Unparticular


Soil Condition

Average, Poor, Well-drained, Dry


Soil pH

Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors


Design Styles

English Cottage, Formal, Japanese, Meadow, Mediterranean, Ranch, Seascape, Spanish, Native Garden


Accenting Features

Showy Flowers


Seasonal Interest

Winter, Summer, Fall


Location Uses

Entry, Perennial Border, Shrub Border, Foundation, Walkways


Special Uses

Cut Flowers, Mass Planting, Lawn Alternative, Naturalizing, Small Spaces


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: Stephanie Duer
Photographer: Susan Frommer
  • Description

  • Notes

Alkali dropseed is a warm-season, clumping grass with soft green blades and airy pinkish seed plumes. Clumps grow about 12 to 20 inches, and the plumes can reach 20 to 40 inches. Plumes emerge June and persist until frost. Flowers are excellent for arrangements; the grass is a good choice as a large scale ground cover or for erosion control. Though too tall to replace a traditional lawn, it does make a lovely meadowy-sort of space.
Grow in full sun in any soil that is well drained. Very drought tolerant once established. Cut back in late winter; see Guides.