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Grass-Grasses-In The Garden-Ornamental-Tall and Short Grass

Updated on November 30, 2012


A garden of ornamental grasses promises color and movement throughout the year. In spring,the grasses display leaves with unique colors and patterns.As late summer and autumn approach,their flowers bloom and become puffy and delicate once they release seeds. As winter descends,grasses bleach and dry to a golden hue.

Drought Proof Ornamental Grass


Ornamental varieties are of the same family as lawn grasses,but they are very different. Ornamental grasses have many qualities which lawn grasses lack. They are hardy;low maintenance;drought resistant;pest resistant and disease resistant,they are colorful and texturally attractive even in the dead of winter. The attractiveness of grasses makes them especially appealing to gardeners and home owners who enjoy year round interest. As the grasses show off their vertical,straw colored leaves and fluffy seed heads.

Versatility In The Landscape Design

Ornamental grasses offer versatility in garden design. They add color and vertical accents to flowerbeds and borders.Blue oat grass,Helictotrichon sempervirens, a wispy 9 inch tall filler,has arching foliage and unusual color, and is an excellent choice for sidewalk edging, rock gardens or in front of a border.It works well with almost any combination of annual or perennial flowers.Some other smaller grasses include Japanese blood grass,bulbous oat grass,variegated velvet grass, and orchard grass.

Where can you use Ornamental Grass?

Low growing grasses can cascade over walls while taller varieties can stand in for a row of shrubs, creating a living fence for privacy,or can act as a screen against a view or buffer traffic noise.For the best results try planting two or more plants of one species near similar-size group of another.Repeat these plantings periodically at intervals for balance and a variety of textures


The bold perennial pampas grass (Cortaderia) is a showy variety,it has silky plumes that can wave 10 feet high.Another winter hardy perennial grass Miscanthus sinensis grows 6 feet tall,providing eye level privacy around a pool or a patio.For a greater contrast, Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus' offers several creamy white and green stripes running through the length of its 1/2 inch wide leaves. It also has pink flowers in late summer. Zebra grass,Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus' has yellow or white buds across its green leaves in early autumn. The shorter Miscanthus sinenthus var. purpurescens, or flame grass and purple madien grass, grows 3-4 feet tall and produces upright clumps of orange to purple foliage in autumn. Other tall varieties include Indian grass, feather grass and ribbon grass.Ornamental grasses make great ground covers also by gradually filling in empty spaces every year with new shoots.

Bluish sheep fescue (Festuca ovina) by itself can make a showy maintenance free ground-cover with its silvery blue tufts. The 10 inch wiry clumps grow in the sun or shade equally well but they are not very resilient to excessive foot traffic.

Smaller Varieties

There are also smaller varieties,such as blue fescue,quaking grass,and variegated Japanese sedge in containers.You can bring grasses indoors by using the seed heads in dried and fresh flower arrangements or they can be used in many other floral crafts.Ornamental grasses thrive if they are in the right setting, most require full sun.There are some for shaded areas of your garden such as Hakone grass(Hakonechloa macra), with bright green, bamboo like leaves. Ornamental grasses are for the most part are sturdy ,some of the taller varieties are vulnerable to harsh rainstorms and heavy winds.It is beneficial for the grasses to receive the sunlight they need to keep the leaves strong,the grasses will be protected from getting matted down by severe weather and will rebound(stand back up) more quickly when pummeled by harsh storms.

Transferring Grasses

When you are transferring the grasses outdoors in the spring,plant them the same depth as they were in their container.Keep them watered well until they are well established and send up some new shoots.Every spring the grasses must be cut back to make room for new shoots.Grasses that become to big for their space can be dug up and divided.

Uses of Ornamental Grasses

There are many uses for ornamental grasses in the garden the possibilities are endless.With so many varied textures,colors,flowers, and growth habits,ornamental grasses can be as striking as a piece of beautiful outdoor sculpture.

Why Create a Garden?

Gardening is a great way to add a little color to your world,it is also a wonderful stress reliever.Gardening also gives you the benefits of watching things grow into something beautiful.Attracting many birds and butterflies.Gardening is fun and exciting and also provides exercise (you should so a few stretches before you begin to prevent straining or overdoing muscles), Vitamin D, great memories and photo opportunities, not to mention the joy of sharing what you grow.

A Look at Ornamental Grasses


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