Muhlenbergia emersleyi El Toro® landscape Cache Creek
Muhlenbergia emersleyi El Toro®. Photo courtesy of Mountain States Wholesale Nursery

bull grass

This plant grows well in the following regions:

  • SMSierra and Coastal Mountains
  • CVCentral Valley
  • DTDesert
  • NCNorth and Central Coast
  • SCSouth Coast
Map of regions (click to enlarge)
map of California regions


Bull grass is native to rocky slopes in oak woodlands from Arizona to Texas south to Mexico. It is an evergreen clumping grass with blue-green foliage that grows 2-3 feet tall and wide. It is smaller and more dense than deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) with slightly wider leaves. Plant in well-draining soil. In fall loose flower spikes with dark purple flowers will rise above the foliage.

El Toro® is native to oak woodlands from Arizona to Texas. This clone was selected for its rosy-purple panicles, which dry to a tan color in winter. It is a petite, dense grass that grows to 2 ft. tall and wide, with long blue-green leaves. It thrives in full sun and locations with reflected heat. Handles shady locations, almost any soil, and is hardy to 10 degrees F. Give it a vigorous spring pruning to remove any dormant foliage and flower spikes. Do not cut back during hot summer months.

Sun needs:

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Water needs:

  • Medium water
  • Low water
Water needs information from WUCOLS unless otherwise noted