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Blue Fescue

Festuca longifolia

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Bread Wheat, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, Cocksfoot, Cockspur, Common Bent, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Great Brome Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rough Meadow-grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Wood Millet, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, heathland, meadows, moorland, roadsides, sea cliffs.

Green, no petals
Flower spike. Similar to Sheep's Fescue (Fesuca ovina) but with larger spikelets (up to 1cm). Spikelets have roughly 6 flowers each.
The fruit of Blue Fescue is a caryopsis. A caryopsis is a type of dry, one-seeded fruit which is typical of all grass species.
Very bluish, thread-like leaves.
Other Names:
Fescue, Hard Fescue.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Festuca longifolia, also known as Fescue, is a species of grass in the genus Festuca. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North America and it is widely cultivated and naturalized in other parts of the world as an ornamental plant or forage grass.

Festuca longifolia is a perennial grass that typically grows to be about 2 ft tall, with a clumping habit. The leaves are narrow, flat, and long, typically around 12-20 inches long, and have a green to blue-green color. The inflorescence (flowering head) is a spike-like arrangement of spikelets. The spikelets are small and contain the flowers, which are green to brownish-green in color, often with a purple tinge.

This grass prefers well-drained soils, it is tolerant to different soil types, but it grows best in sandy soils. It is tolerant of drought, heat and shade, but it grows best in full sun. It is often used in landscaping, and can be used as a ground cover, in turf or in meadows, and it is also used as a forage grass, particularly for sheep and other grazing animals.

This species is hardy in USDA zones 4-8, and it is relatively easy to grow if given suitable conditions. It is not considered as threatened species and it is commonly available commercially. Festuca longifolia varieties are used for ornamental lawns, golf course fairways, sports field turf, and for erosion control on steep slopes.


Blue Fescue, also known as Festuca longifolia, is a type of ornamental grass that is popular among gardeners and landscapers alike. Native to Europe, this grass is known for its beautiful blue-green foliage, which makes it a great choice for adding color and texture to any garden.

One of the great things about Blue Fescue is that it is easy to grow and care for. It prefers well-draining soil and full sun, but can also tolerate partial shade. This makes it a great option for a wide range of gardeners, whether you are a beginner or an experienced pro.

In terms of size, Blue Fescue typically grows to be about 12-18 inches tall, with a spread of 10-12 inches. This compact size makes it a great option for borders, rock gardens, and other small spaces. It can also be planted in containers, which is a great way to add a pop of color to your patio or balcony.

One of the most attractive features of Blue Fescue is its foliage. The grass produces fine, needle-like leaves that are a beautiful blue-green color. This color is particularly striking when paired with other plants with contrasting colors, such as orange or red flowers. The foliage also has a fine texture, which gives it a delicate and graceful appearance.

Another benefit of Blue Fescue is that it is relatively low-maintenance. Once established, it requires very little watering, making it a great choice for dry or arid climates. It also does not require much fertilization, although you may want to add some slow-release fertilizer in the spring to give it a boost.

Blue Fescue is a beautiful and easy-to-grow grass that is sure to add color and texture to any garden. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this versatile plant is a great choice for adding interest and beauty to your landscape.

Blue Fescue is a cool-season grass, meaning that it thrives in cooler temperatures and is often used as a winter accent plant. It is hardy in USDA zones 4-8, but can also be grown in warmer areas as long as it is provided with some afternoon shade to protect it from the intense heat.

In terms of maintenance, Blue Fescue does not require much pruning. You can remove any dead or damaged leaves as needed, but otherwise, the plant can be left to grow on its own. If you do choose to prune it, it is best to do so in the spring or fall, as this is when the plant is most dormant.

One thing to keep in mind when growing Blue Fescue is that it does not like to be overwatered. If the soil is too wet or poorly drained, the plant may suffer from root rot or other issues. To avoid this, make sure to plant Blue Fescue in well-draining soil and water only when the soil is dry to the touch.

While Blue Fescue is generally disease and pest-resistant, it can sometimes fall prey to certain pests such as aphids or mites. These can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil, or by introducing natural predators such as ladybugs or lacewings into the garden.

Blue Fescue can be used in a variety of ways in the garden, from edging to borders to mass plantings. It is also a great addition to rock gardens, where it can provide a contrast to the rough texture of rocks and boulders.

In addition to its ornamental value, Blue Fescue can also be used as a soil stabilizer, thanks to its deep root system. This makes it a great choice for erosion control on slopes and hillsides, as well as in areas with loose soil or heavy foot traffic.

Blue Fescue can also be used as a companion plant to other garden favorites such as roses, daylilies, and coreopsis. It can help to bring out the colors of these plants and add a visual contrast to the garden.

Blue Fescue is a great choice for low-water gardens or xeriscapes. Its low water needs make it a great option for areas with limited rainfall or in places where water conservation is a concern.

One of the great things about Blue Fescue is that it is also easy to propagate. You can divide the plant in the spring, separating the clumps and replanting them in new locations. This not only helps to keep the plant healthy and vigorous, but it also allows you to create more plants for your garden or to share with friends.

Another benefit of Blue Fescue is that it is deer-resistant. This makes it a great choice for areas with high deer populations, where many other plants might be vulnerable to browsing. Blue Fescue is also resistant to rabbits and other small animals, which can help to protect your garden from damage.

In terms of design, Blue Fescue can be used to create a variety of effects. Its fine texture can be used to create a sense of movement in the garden, while its blue-green color can be used to create a calming and restful atmosphere. It can also be used to create a sense of unity and coherence, tying together different parts of the garden and bringing a sense of harmony to the overall design.

Overall, Blue Fescue is a great choice for anyone looking to add a low-maintenance, ornamental grass to their garden or landscape. Whether you are looking for a plant to add color and texture, or a soil stabilizer for erosion control, Blue Fescue is definitely worth considering. With its attractive foliage, easy care requirements, and versatile design options, it is a great addition to any garden.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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