Top Picks for Ornamental Grasses

Gardens can benefit from the unmatched combination of long-lasting form, color, airy elegance, charm, and movement provided by ornamental grasses. Many different types of ornamental grasses can be grown, including compact types perfect for pots and raised beds.

You can also choose tall, thin types that can be used as screens or to add strong vertical aspects to borders. Additionally, you can select moisture-loving grasses for pond edges and soggy soil.

While each variety has its own unique growing conditions, most thrive in good soil with sun or partial shade. While some ornamental grasses can withstand dryness, others need moist soil that doesn’t dry out.

With their contrasting form and leaves, ornamental grasses complement many other plants well and improve the overall appearance of a planting scheme. Although deciduous grasses lose their leaves in the fall, they often continue to have shape and structure far into the winter.

Here are some of the best choices for ornamental grasses in your garden:

1. Greater quaking grass

Greater quaking grass

Delicate green blossoms hang from slender branches like water drops. Both in the yard and the vase, it serves as the ideal counterpoint to more colorful flora.

2. Pheasant’s tail grass

With its large, low clumps of light-reflecting leaves, this evergreen perennial grass offers year-round color and structure. Its thin leaf starts as green but eventually becomes red, yellow, and orange.

Its color peaks and becomes most intense in the winter.

3. Sedge grass

This diverse collection of perennial grasses, which are primarily evergreen and have colorful foliage, is both beautiful and practical. Some plants need damp soil, whereas the majority require moderately fertile soil that doesn’t dry up.

4. Reed grass

It grows in clusters with tall stems of beige or pinkish blooms and thin, occasionally faintly variegated leaves. Grow in any decently healthy soil in the sun or partial shade.

5. Hair grass

This evergreen perennial develops slender green or yellow-green leaf clusters that are neat and compact. It also generates slender stems topped with an abundance of tiny, light flowers. Grow in the sun or partial shade.

6. Pampas grass

Pampas grass

With towering plumes of silvery flowers rising above mid-green foliage, this huge, clump-forming evergreen perennial grass is a garden favorite. It is typically cultivated as a lawn centerpiece but also blends well into a perennial mix plan.

7. Japanese golden grass

This well-liked perennial grass grows into a mound in the spring with arching, green and yellow-striped leaves that become greeny-gold in the summer before withering away to parchment-brown in the winter. Great for pots and raised bed edging.

8. Blue fescue

The lovely silvery blue leaves of this mound-forming, compact perennial grass are matched by short, green flower spikes that eventually turn straw-brown. Plant it in full sunlight in a gravel garden or container.

Barbara Radford

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