Perennial Ornamental Grasses For Your Landscape

Ornamental grasses with their graceful plumes, interesting seed heads and colorful foliage are top picks by homeowners and landscapers alike.  Whether you’re looking for a small border grass or a tall specimen plant, you can’t go wrong with these carefree performers.  Plant them in well-drained soil where they’ll receive plenty of sunlight.  They aren’t demanding at all – just a haircut each spring keeps them happy!  Here’s some information to help you decide which ornamental grass suits your space.

Pampas Grass –

One of the tallest and perhaps most well known of the grasses.  In late summer, its large plumes reach as high as 8-12 ft. tall. It is often used as a screen or tall hedge

Maiden Grass –

This grass takes on an arching or weeping habit and generally grows from 5-7 ft. tall. Feathery pale pink fan shaped panicles appear in the fall. ‘Gracillimus’ is the most commonly used and has silvery green leaves that turn golden bronze in the fall.  ‘Morning Light’ sports a narrow white stripe down each blade creating a light, airy appearance. ‘Adagio’ is a more dwarf form reaching only 3-4 ft. tall.  Choose it for the fine textured silver-gray leaves and a more rounded habit.

Zebra (Porcupine) Grass-

This one adds texture and boldness to the landscape with yellow banding along bright green blades. The flowers are a coppery pink in the fall with an overall height of 6-8 ft.  ‘Little Zebra’ is a more  dwarf version, reaching only 3-4 ft. tall.

Dwarf Fountain Grass-

Tan, wooly caterpillar-like blooms from midsummer through fall makes this grass very recognizable. Look for ‘Hamln’ which grows in a tidy mound and only 2-3 ft. tall and wide.

Feather Reed Grass-

This is a perfect choice for smaller, narrow spots.  The foliage stays low and clumping while the upright flower spikes arrive early summer.  ‘Karl Foerster’ makes a vertical statement with dark green foliage and an overall height of 4-6 ft.

Blue Switch Grass-

‘Shenandoah’ begins the season with bluish-green foliage.  In June, dark burgundy blades begin to appear and become more numerous as fall approaches.  Red, feathery blooms also accent this 3 ft. tall grass.  ‘Shenandoah’ is a nice substitute for Japanese Blood grass, which is no longer available.