Hardy Planting Zone: 3 to 9
Bloom Season: June, July, August, and September
Bloom Color: Green
Height at Maturity: 2 to 4 feet
Soil Type Preferred: Moist sands, loams, and clay
Sun or Shade: part shade, shade
Wild Oats is a perennial plant that grows between 2 and 4 feet.
It is a clump-forming plant that bears oat-like flower spikelets large and drooping from slender, arching branches. In sunnier areas, the blue-green leaves will change to a bright yellowish gold color.
These plants are a popular choice in shady grass areas as they are low-maintenance plants and known for their large seed heads.
They start as small blue-green leaves beginning in early spring. By May, the wild Oats' plates will be a vibrant green with see-through seed heads and be 2 feet tall. The seed heads will then be ivory by mid-summer before turning brown by fall, where they will start to fall off.
The Wild Oats will pass through the winter as a soft brown, but it will become gray by February and look a bit worn down. This is the time to cut the plants to the basal rosette. In just a few years, the plants can grow quite aggressively, especially in moist loamy soils. These plants grow in such thickness that they have been used to help prevent soil erosion along stream beds.
Wild Oats plants are often used in potting arrangements, and the seed stalks being used in dried floral arrangements. They also attract butterflies and host the larvae of the Bells Road Skipper butterfly, Pepper and Salt Skipper butterfly, and the Bronzed Roadside Skipper butterfly. The Wild Oats plants are highly deer resistant but do provide grazing for small mammals and several birds.