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Dig it!

Everything You Need to Know about Perennial Grasses

Perennial Grasses add height, beauty, grace and year round interest to the landscape. Perennial grasses are easy to grow and very low maintenance. Once establised they typically only require pruning once a year. These ornamental plants have it all and are available in a variety of colors, textures and sizes.

perennialgrasses

We recommend planting in the spring or summer. For best results, get these plants in the ground before plumes are produced. Most varieties come up fairly late in the spring which makes June & July a great time to get them planted.

Why plant Ornamental Grasses?

  • Screening for airconditioners or fencing
  • Fast & "friendly" privacy from neighbors
  • Fall color & winter interest
  • Erosion control
  • Vertical interest - height without the spread
  • Contrasting foliage
  • Easy to grow

Below is a list of our favorite ornamental grasses. Click on the name to learn more about each plant.

  • Miscanthus
    • Maiden Grass or Silver Grass
    • Corn tassel-like plumes are often colorful
    • Open to fuzzy plumes
    • Excellent for winter interest
    • Many varieties available
  • Graziella
    • Early to bloom
    • Grows to 5-6 feet
    • Arching foliage
    • Very floriferous
  • Silver Feather
    • One of the larger Miscanthus
    • Grows 6-9 feet
    • Silvery plumes become very fuzzy
    • Exellent specimen or screen plant
  • Strictus
    • Porcupine Grass
    • WAY better than Zebra Grass
    • Doesn't flop
    • Copper color blooms late in the season
  • Purpurascens
    • Flame Grass
    • Grows to 35 feet
    • Foliage turns deep bugandy in the fall
    • Fuzzy plumes in late August
  • Clamagrostis
    • Feather Reed Grass
    • Extremely easy to grow
    • Pinkish-green plumes in August
    • Tan wheat-like plumes in fall
    • Will tolerate poor soil and part shade
  • Panicum
    • Switch Grass
    • Produces airy panicles
    • Nice fall color on most varieties
    • Native, easy to grow
    • Most effective in masses
  • Shenandoah
    • Red Switch Grass
    • Grows to 4 feet
    • Foliage turns red-purple in fall
    • Excellent in mass
  • Northwind
    • Vertial growth habit
    • Turns golden yellow in fall
    • Grows to 5-6 feet
    • Vase shaped
    • Stunning when planted in a group of 3 or more
  • Pennisetum
    • Fountain Grass
    • Fuzzy bottle-brush plumes
    • Annual and perennial varieties available
    • So cute!
  • Sporobolus
    • Prairie Drop Seed
    • 18" foliage
    • 36" in bloom
    • "Fragrant"
    • Very fine foliage
    • Best when used in mass plantings
  • Schizachyrium
    • Little Blue Stem
    • 4-5 ft in bloom
    • Nice purple fall color
    • Silvery white plumes in August-September
  • Andropogon
    • Big Blue Stem
    • 4 ft folliage
    • 7 feet in bloom
    • Turkey foot plumes
    • Nice fall color
  • Hakonechloa
    • Japanese Forest Grass
    • Brightens up the shade
    • Slow spreader
    • Arching stems
    • Combines beautifully with hosta and coral bells
  • Carex
    • Sedges
    • Many varieties available
    • Tend to be small scale plants
    • Very nice in containers
  • Festuca
    • Blue Fescue
    • Tiny mounds of spiky blue foliage
    • Beautiful seed heads
    • Requires well drained soil
  • Molina 'Variegata'
    • Variegated Moor Grass
    • Bright yellow and green foliage
    • Perfectly mounded
    • Airy plumes
  • Sesleria
    • Autumn Moor Grass
    • Lime green foliage
    • Grown in sun or shade
    • Drought tolerant
    • White panicles summer - fall
    • Warm rust color in fall
  • Imperata
    • Japanese Blood Grass
    • Grows 12-18" tall
    • Plant in a sunny, moist, protected laction
    • Will spread if sited well
    • Red tips all season
  • Chasmanthium
    • Northern Sea Oats
    • Bamboo-like foliage
    • Beautiful arching stems with nickel sized seeds
    • Grows to 3-4'
    • Will tolerate some shade
  • Equistetum
    • Horsetail Rush
    • Round, hallow green stems with black markings
    • Spreads quickly - site accordingly
    • Grows to 3-4'
  • Acorus
    • Sweet Flag
    • Not a true grass
    • Colorful spiky foliage
    • Beautiful in containers
    • Can be grown IN water
  • Molina 'Sky Racer'
    • Purple Moor Grass
    • 3 ft foliage
    • 8 ft in bloom
    • Striking when placed in mass
  • Molina 'Moorflame'
    • Purple Moor Grass
    • 12" foliage
    • 24-30" in bloom
    • Dark plumes on upright stems
    • Plumes in July and last all winter
  • Helictotrichon
    • Blue Oat Grass
    • Grows to 30"
    • Thicker, stiffer foliage than Blue Fescue
    • Blooms in early summer

Ornamental Grass Care

  • Avoid the grass doughnut
  • Mulch well before winter and enjoy the grass all winter long. Ornamental Grasses make for wonderful winter interest in the landscape.
  • Cut back in early spring (some exceptions)
  • Before cutting back, tie together first with rope or masking tape
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