Buchloe dactyloides

Buchloe dactyloides Buffalo Grass - Cultivar


For large scale projects, wild-type Buffalo Grass is not available.

Buffalo Grass has the ability to survive the cool Northern climates and the hot, drier climates of the South. It requires little to no mowing and can withstand droughts.  It is a rhizomatous plant with maximum height of just 5", yet a very deep root system once established, for full sun areas and medium to dry soils. 

After its winter dormancy, this warm-season grass remains brown until soil temperatures warm significantly, meaning, a Buffalo Grass lawn will be still be dormant (brown) early-Spring while cool-season, traditional, fescue lawns are greening up. Once established, a Buffalo Grass lawn is green during the hottest, driest times of summer, while traditional, cool-season fescue lawns turn brown mid-summer without heavy watering.

Buffalo Grass is often planted with Blue Grama and Oats as a cover crop. 

Recommended seeding rate: 2-3 lbs./1000 sq.ft.  

7 Questions asked on Buchloe dactyloides

Q Andy • May 16 We have some of your Buchloe seeds. We would like to know why they are green. Thanks.
A Prairie Moon • May 18 Hi Andy. The green dye indicates the seed has been soaked in Potassium nitrate (saltpeter) which enhances germination. This is a naturally occurring substance and is not dangerous.
Q Laurie • June 7 How much Blue Grama should we order if we wanted to seed it with Buffalo Grass?
A Prairie Moon • June 7 Hi Laurie. We suggest about 1 oz of Blue Grama for every lb of Buffalo Grass you order. If you want us to blend it for you in 1 bag, just mention that in the 'order instructions' box, during checkout.
Q Chris • September 18 I'm considering sowing this to carpet a foot path in a restored prairie. What would be the best time of year to sow? Thanks.
A Prairie Moon • September 19 Since this grass does not need to overwinter to germinate (Germ Code = A), and it is a warm-season grass (grows actively when soil temps are warm), we would recommend sowing it late-spring or early-summer. Like with any new seeding, the site should be bare; free of weeds and prairie species that would compete with the new Buffalo Grass trying to germinate and take hold.
Q Mary • March 19 I have 2 areas I am looking to seed. One area is the parking adjacent to a road. Would this withstand road salt? The other area is an 8 degree slope that my dog runs on. Would this withstand disturbance from paw traffic? Urine? Thanks!
A Prairie Moon • March 20 Thanks for writing, Mary. Historically, Buffalo Grass withstood the hooves of herds of its namesakes, so paw pressure likely would be no problem for it. As a warm-season grass, it probably would tolerate some salt exposure during its dormant winter months. It is mentioned specifically in a document on salt-tolerant grasses from Colorado State University, reached through this link.
Q Gary • April 17 Can I seed Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides) into my thin existing turf? Thanks!
A Prairie Moon • April 18 Hi Gary. We wouldn't recommend it. Traditional turf is cool-season, where as Buffalo Grass is warm-season. Cool season grasses green-up and flourish when soil temps are cool, but struggle in the hottest part of summer without frequent watering. Warm-season grasses, like Buffalo Grass and many other deep-rooted prairie grasses stay brown and dormant during the cool spring, but green-up and thrive when soil temps are warm. If you were to interseed Buffalo in your existing lawn, end results may be patches of brown Buffalo in the spring.
Q Kattie • June 22 How many days to sprout?
A Prairie Moon • June 24 HI Kattie. This is a warm season prairie grass, meaning it actively grows when soil temps are warm, like in the middle of the summer as opposed to spring and fall. If your soil is warm, it should germinate in 7-14 days.
Q Della • August 3 Would buffalo grass survive with the rainy Wisconsin summers? We have a retaining wall we'd like to plant this on top, so it would be well drained. Is planting now (August) too late?
A Prairie Moon • August 5 Hi Della. Although WI is a bit east of it's native range (it was widespread from the Dakota's south to Texas) it should adapt to WI just fine. Here in SE MN it does very well for us on a few sample plots we have growing. Planting in early-August should be fine; it should germinate soon with the warm soil temps and put on enough growth before killing frosts. Note - it will remain brown next spring, when all other lawn grasses are greening up; some perceive this lengthy brown phase to be dead plants, but when soil temps warm up by June, it will green up.

Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds


We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants


3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges:
SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free! Custom seed mixes or wholesale seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $7.50
over $50.00: 15% of the total plant cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season:

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within a day or two upon receipt.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve).  We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May.  Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
5 inches
Bloom Time
May, June, July, August
Deer Resistant
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Number