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Alkali sacaton is a robust warm season grass with fine-textured foliage that grows with a clumping habit 2-3 ft.. high. It produces attractive flower panicles in late spring that can grow 3-4 ft. tall. These flower panicles are branched and produce a delicate and transparent appearance in mid summer, and are very attractive when highlighted by the sun.

Alkalai sacaton is a tough grass that is found in dry habitats including sage scrub, grassland and deserts. Its clumping habit and drought endurance make it good for Southwestern style gardens and for contrast to other foliage plants. It is valued as a clumping feature among boulders and with southwestern plants among palo verde and mesquite trees, chuparosa, Texas ranger and desert encelia.1

Water Needs

Alkalai sacaton can grow throughout the Inland Empire where it is adapted to sunny exposures and with low amounts of supplemental water during summer. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; more water in the spring will result in more robust summer performance.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Grass, Native
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Upright, Open, Mounding, Clumping, Arching
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft. (to 4 ft. with flowers)
Width: 2 ft. - 4 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Light green, Pale green
Flower Color: Green
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Deep soil, Clay, Alkaline soil
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Drought, Cold hardy, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Residential spaces, Parks and open space, Mass planting, Grouped, Foliage accent plant, Commercial spaces, California native, Borders, Banks, Background plant


Cut back seed heads once they become unsightly in the fall. Wait for major cut back until the spring if the plant is looking good enough (S).



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