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5 Favorite Ornamental Grasses

Sep 12, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Written by

McKay Staff

in Landscaping Tips Plants

 

 

Ornamental Grasses provide a beautiful variety in your landscape while being relatively low maintenance. These grasses come in a variety of types and sizes, so you can find the perfect one for you! Here are our 5 favorite ornamental grasses. 

 


  

Blue Oat Grass

Blue Oat grass is finely textured and its blue foliage grows around 18" tall but in a mounded shape. It's a cool season ornamental grass that provides interest all year long in the landscape. This plant is great in mass plantings along borders. It's hardy to -25 degrees F. This grass needs to be planted in a very dry site. Hardiness zone 4.

 


 

  Shenandoah Red Switchgrass

 

The Shenandoah Red Switchgrass is a warm season grass that is sod forming, not clump forming. It's an outstanding selection of Panicum. The green foliage has purplish tips throughout the summer. The loose and open panicles (pyramidal shaped seed heads) appear in August or September, and remain attractive all winter. The fall foliage is a red to orange color, which looks beautiful in the landscape. Mature height of 3-4' is common if grown in a sunny, well drained site. Trim down in late March every year. This ornamental grass can be used in mass or as a specimen in the landscape. Hardiness zone 4.

 

 


 

 Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass

Photo Credit: MasterPLAN

 

 

The Karl Foerster Feather Reed is a cool season, clump forming grass. It has an upright, narrow, and extremely uniform clump up to 3' or even 5' tall when flowering. One of the first grasses to come out of dormancy, and one of earliest to bloom. Bloom usually starts around June or early July and the seed heads resemble wheat and are straw colored soon after emerging. Be sure to plant in full sun in a rich, well-drained soil. This ornamental grass can be used in mass or as a specimen in the landscape. Cut back late in March if possible before new growth begins. This is a very dependable "soldier" in the border. Definitely a wholesale and retail customer favorite! Hardiness zone 3.

 


 

 Blue Fescue

 

Blue Fescue is a cool season, clump forming grass. It's a hardy, low-tufted cool season grass with a powdery, silver-blue coloration. Thin blades are gracefully arched, but only attain a height of 4-8" or so, and 6-10" when blooming. Be sure to plant in full sun to partial shade in well-drained soils. This is an excellent edging plant---most effective used in mass plantings. Trim back foliage late in March or early April each year. Hardiness zone 4.

 

 


 

 Little Bluestem

Photo Credit: Brooklyn Bridge Park Blog

 

The Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is a warm season, clump forming grass. The blue-green foliage provides a great backdrop for the prairie flowers in summer, turning a striking crimson in fall. The fluffy silver seed heads add some real dazzle to the autumn landscape. A patch of Little Bluestem waving in the wind is truly a wondrous sight, resembling waves of the ocean on a bright and breezy fall day! It's a clump-forming grass that pairs nicely with prairie flowers. It grows two or three feet tall on well-drained sand and loam, and excels in dry sandy and rocky soils. Not recommended for heavy clay or damp soils. Be sure to plant in full sun for best results. Hardiness zone 4 (or possibly 3).

 

 

 

 

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