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Bunny Tails Ornamental Grass

Updated on May 5, 2013

"Grass is the hair of the earth." --late German horticulturalist Karl Foerster

Pretty Little Cottontails

Soft and fluffy, bunny tails ornamental grass is a fun plant both children and adults will love.
Soft and fluffy, bunny tails ornamental grass is a fun plant both children and adults will love.

Bunny tails (Lagurus ovatus) is an ornamental grass that’s fun and easy to cultivate. Sometimes called hare’s tail grass, bunny tails grows in compact mounds about a foot wide, which makes it an excellent border plant.

Try planting bunny tails along a walkway. Its fluffy white cottontails, which first appear in early summer, will tickle your legs as you pass. At 1 to 2 feet high, bunny tails is just tall enough to tickle a toddler’s nose, too.

Bunny tail blooms look like the real thing thanks to their soft, downy appearance and life-like size. (Blooms are 2 to 2 ½ inches wide!)

In autumn, the fluffy white tails turn light brown. Harvest them for dry arrangements. The seed heads, which are compact and dense, last for months. Or, leave the heads intact to add interest to your winter garden.

You can also grow bunny tails in pots, either alone or as an accent (thriller) plant.


Grass Bunny Tails Seeds
Grass Bunny Tails Seeds

Unless you live in a mild climate, treat bunny tails as an annual, seeding it every year.

 

How to Sow Bunny Tails Ornamental Grass

Growing Directions

Directly sow bunny tails outdoors in full sun 3 weeks before the last frost in sandy or well-drained soil. (It doesn’t do well in soggy soil.)

Because the seeds are small, plant them shallowly, scratching them into the soil about 1/4-inch deep. Keep them well watered. Thin seedlings to 12 inches apart.

Like most ornamental grasses, once Lagurus ovatus is established, it’s drought-tolerant.

You can also start bunny tails indoors from seed 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Keep the potting medium warm and moist. Seeds will germinate in 15 to 21 days.

In mild climates, zones 7-10, bunny tails can be cultivated as a perennial. In zones 3-6, treat it as an annual.

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Although it shares the common name "bunny tails" with Lagurus ovatus, Pennisetum messiacum's blooms look more like foxtails.
Although it shares the common name "bunny tails" with Lagurus ovatus, Pennisetum messiacum's blooms look more like foxtails.
Although it shares the common name "bunny tails" with Lagurus ovatus, Pennisetum messiacum's blooms look more like foxtails. | Source
Source

Red Bunny Tails Fountain Grass

Although Pennisetum messiacum (red bunny tails fountain grass) shares the name “bunny tails” with Lagurus ovatus, its blooms resemble a rabbit’s foot or fox's tail more than a bunny's tail. In fact, its blooms are of a type commonly referred to as foxtails.

Like bunny tails, Pennisetum messiacumprefers full sun. However, it does well in part shade, too, and it's drought tolerant. In zones 7-10, it grows as a perennial. In any zone where temperatures drop below zero, it's an annual.

Beautiful as a specimen plant, excellent in a large pot, Pennisetum messiacum can grow up to 3 feet tall. Its gorgeous burgundy foxtails eventually fade to white.

Designing with Grasses
Designing with Grasses

A practical guide to using grasses in the home landscape, Designing with Grasses shows gardeners how to create a grassland in their yard, prevent erosion, establish green roofs, and choose the right plant for the right spot.

 

Comments

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    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      3 years ago from United States

      It's cute in person, too, bluebird. Thanks for stopping by.

    • bluebird profile image

      bluebird 

      3 years ago

      Plants can be beautiful, but don't recall so much any cute plants! Thanks for sharing, I wouldn't mind growing this myself, it has such a cute name.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      5 years ago from United States

      Hi moonlake. Yep, bunny tail grass likes it warm, zones 7 and up. Below that, it's an annual, but a really fun annual! Thanks for leaving a comment.--Jill

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      I love grass but I have never heard of bunny tails. They would be only annuals here I'm sure. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image

      thoughtfulgirl2 

      5 years ago from East Coast

      Ah, you have made me enchanted with the Bunny tail Grass. I love ornamental grasses and enjoyed your article. The first photo of the Bunny tail grass was quite beautiful. I loved your quote at the beginning of the article and I love latin, so I really am glad you included the latin names for these beautiful and practical workhorses of the garden.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thanks, Eiddwen. I appreciate the comment. Thanks for reading!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      7 years ago from Wales

      A great hub about something I knew little about,and thankfully we are never too old to learn.

      I now look forward to reading more of your work.

      Take care

      Eiddwen.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thanks for stopping by, RTalloni!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      7 years ago from the short journey

      Oh how adorable! My grandchildren would love this grass. Thanks!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      According to this site, http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-iowa-last-fro... your last frost date was from mid to late April, depending upon where you live in Iowa, so ... if that's accurate, you could sow them now. You shouldn't have any difficulty getting them to start. They're easy to grow and really cute.

    • profile image

      awhughes 

      7 years ago

      I have never heard of bunny tails. Thanks for the info! I live in Iowa, is this a good time of the year to plant seeds?

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