Add movement and texture to your home’s landscape with ornamental grass. This low-maintenance plant is sure to add beauty and privacy to any yard or garden.
These 6 types of ornamental grass will highlight your garden, yard, or outdoor living area, adding beauty and enjoyment from spring to fall.
Cool Season Ornamental Grasses
Cool-season grasses prefer cooler climates and thrive from early spring to fall.
Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens)
Blue oat grass is a perennial grass native to Europe. It grows in a dense clump in a display of long, stiff, blue-green foliage. Furthermore, the leaf ends taper to a point.
Blue oat grass grows to a height of 18 to 30 inches and changes in fall to an attractive tan to light brown color providing visual interest in the garden during wintertime. The lovely bluish-green foliage is accented in silver tones making this ornamental grass a favorite in the home landscape.
Blue oat grass thrives in zones 4 to 9. It prefers a moist, fertile, well-draining soil and a location that receives partial to full shade during the day. Too much shade can encourage disease.
New seedlings may appear, which can be dug from the main plant and transferred to another spot in the garden. The plant can be divided in spring or fall to create new plants.
Carex Phoenix Green (Carex comans)
Sometimes referred to as New Zealand hair sedge, carex phoenix green is an evergreen perennial grass. Moreover, it grows in a dense weeping clump comprised of thin, hair-like leaves.
Carex phoenix green has bright green foliage that grows in a stiff, upright pattern. It reaches approximately 20 inches in height and width when it’s fully mature.
When it comes to planting, they tend to thrive in zones 6 to 10. Make sure to keep them out of the hot afternoon sun since they prefer part to full sun garden spots.
Carex phoenix green prefers well-draining soil and requires watering every other week, particularly in hot weather.
If the leaves begin to look messy, clip them back to 4 to 5 inches in height. Similar to blue oat grass, propagate in the spring or fall.
Snowy Woodrush (Luzula nivea)
Known for its ethereal white fringe and spiky leaves, snowy woodrush blooms in spring. A profusion of white flowers appears above the thin, grayish-green foliage.
This evergreen ornamental grass grows to 6 to 12 inches in height and 18 inches in width, when mature.
Snowy woodrush thrives in planting zones 4 to 9 and thrives in moist soil in a shady location. Water snowy woodrush weekly during the first growing season.
These make for an excellent plant for edging or for placing at the front of the garden bed. It also looks attractive grown in a patio container.
Warm Season Ornamental Grasses
Warm season grasses thrive in the hottest weather with proper care and grow the most in the warmer months of the year.
Keep in mind that some warm-season grasses may not overwinter depending on where you live.
Pampas Grass (Cortaderia Stapf)
One of the most recognizable ornamental grasses, pampas grass can grow up to 10 feet in height during the peak of the growing season. During summer, pampas grass develops large cream-white or light pink plumes, skyward.
Due to its towering height, place this popular ornamental grass near the back of your garden, so it doesn’t block the other plants.
Pampas grass grows best in planting zones 4 to 10. It prefers a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Water new plants every other week to help establish a strong root system.
Stipa Pony Tails (Stipa tenuissima)
Also referred to as Mexican feather grass, stipa pony tails produce silken golden plumes in summer. The plumes shimmer in the sunlight, creating quite a display.
Perfect as a specimen plant, stipa pony tails are sure to be an eye-pleaser in a perennial border. It thrives in planting zones 6 to 9 sporting thin, straight blades that reach 24 inches in height.
Stipa pony tails prefer well-draining soil and a sunny garden location. Plant this attractive ornamental grass in a flowerbed or in the center of a border so it can easily be enjoyed.
Water stipa pony tails once a week during the initial growing season.
Regal Mist Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris “Lenca”)
Prized for its beautiful pink plumage, regal mist pink muhly grass is a showstopper in the garden. In springtime, the plant grows in a glossy green mound. Furthermore, they stretch to 4 feet in height and 3 feet in width.
During the middle of summer, pink plumes will appear and cover the plant. On a breezy day, the leaves and plumes create quite a display.
This grass variety likes morning sun but prefers afternoon shade in summer. Additionally, plant them in well-draining soil.
Only water them once a week during its first year. Or when outdoor temperatures turn hot.
Regal mist pink muhly grass is beautiful when displayed as a specimen plant or placed at the back of a perennial border.
Advantages of planting ornamental grass
Home repair expert, Bob Vila, mentions, “When choosing ornamental grasses, keep in mind the various divisions within the species. Those that spread aggressively are “running” types (e.g., ribbon grass) and can be used to control erosion—but be wary of invasive varieties.”
Additionally, consider whether you want grasses that tend to clump together or ones that are more individualized and can be used as a natural border.
Likewise, another home repair expert, Danny Lipford, lists the numerous advantages to growing ornamental grasses. Aside from, “their gorgeous glowing shape and lovely colors, ornamental grasses have some distinct advantages.” These advantages include:
- Creating a calming motion and sound in your garden.
- Attracting birds to your yard.
- Deer and critter resistant.
- A low maintenance plant, requiring little attention.
Do you have a favorite type of ornamental grass or any tips on how to grow and care for them? Let us know in the comments below!