Designing Spaces That Reflect You
Which ornamenta grasses can I grow

Which Ornamental Grasses Can I Grow?

Whenever we think of a lawn or a front yard, a green grassy place pops up in our mind. The best thing about grass is that when most other plants fade and go into winter dormancy, grass stands proudly, adding interest to the winter landscape. Furthermore, the grass is prone to pests and other diseases that commonly affect other plants. So, why not choose ornamental grasses and grow them in your yard? But first, you should know where you can grow these grasses, the growing tips, and the types you should preferably grow.

How does ornamental grass enhance your yard?

Moreover, You can fit the ornamental grass into many parts of the landscape, according to here are some of them:

How does ornamental grass enhance your yard?

Enhance the garden borders: If you have a flowering perennial border in your garden, then you can add interesting color, height, texture, and late-season interest by adding ornamental grass and also complementing the colorful flowers. Besides, you can use these grasses when growing fall and late-summer flowers, such as Sedum, Zinnias, Goldenrods, and Asters.

●  As privacy screen plants: Some ornamental grasses grow quite high and big, thus becoming a seasonal hedge to create a private space. Thus, growing the tallest grasses will prove a windscreen as well as a visual block. Some large grasses for ornamental purposes are Pampas Grass and Miscanthus but note that they can grow invasive in some parts.

Create movement and texture: The airy flower heads of some grasses dance in the wind and add motion to the garden. Again, these include Switchgrass, which also produces a sweet and soothing rustling sound in the breeze.

Create a groundcover: Not all ornamental grasses grow tall and big, but some are also low-growing and ground-covering plants.  For yards in dry areas, Fescue Grass is a good option as being draught-tolerant. For a no-mow lawn, it is good to grow sedge grass, which stays below 2 feet and provides interesting foliage and flower heads to the garden.

Get cut flowers: You can grow ornamental grass to produce flower heads. In addition, which you can dry and use indoors. Besides, when dried, these flowers have a long vase life and you can mix and match them with other seasonal flowers to create a bunch. Furthermore, two species popular for cutting flowers are Fountain grass and Pampas grass.

Quick facts

● Low maintenance and easy to grow

● Good to plant in spring or autumn, according to the type you are growing

● Produce flowers in autumn and summer and seed heads in winter

● They need minimal care

● Grow well in sunny and open sites, but you can grow some varieties in almost all places

● Sow seeds or divide clumps to make new plants

● Cut back the deciduous types of grasses in late winter to spring

Growing tips to follow when growing an ornamental grass

Step 1: Choose the grass variety

There are many shapes and sizes in which you can get ornamental grasses and they thrive in different ranges or conditions. So, read the plant labels carefully to ensure that you will offer it the required growing habit and it will thrive in the conditions of your garden. Finally, We have listed 10 varieties that you can choose from, seeing their growing needs and conditions.

Step 2: Get the right look

Consider the following about why you are growing your plant:

Size: Do you need low ground cover, or want to fill a large space or a small gap in the border? Moreover, these grasses have height and spread ranging from 25cm (10in) or less to 3m (10ft) and more.

Growing style: Do you need a soft mound of cascading seed heads and arching leaves, or a bold, vertical plant?

Deciduous or evergreen: Do you want a plant that is cut to the ground in late winter and grows fresh every spring or an all-year-round feature?

Vigor: Do you want the plant to fill a large area quickly or a neat, non-spreading clump?

Color: The foliage of the ornamental grasses comes in shades of green, as well as coppery tones, acid yellows, flashes of red and steely blues.

Best features: Are you after the beautiful foliage or do you need striking ornamental seed heads too?

Growing tips to follow when growing an ornamental grass

Step 3: Choose the right time to plant

Growing grasses at their correct times is a very important step.

● Grasses from cool climates grow best in autumn, including Helictotrichon, Stipa, Festuca, and Deschamps. These grow in late winter and produce flowers before mid-summer.

● Ornamental grasses from warm climates grow best in late spring, including Pennisetum, panicum, and miscanthus. These grow in late spring and produce flowers in mid-summer.  

Step 4: Choose the right place to plant

Although these grasses are hardy and can tolerate many conditions, they grow best in sunny, well-lit, and open places having moist, well-draining, and moderately fertile soil. You can also plant them in large containers, where they add contrasts in texture to a mixed container display. Ornamental grass like Carex is good for winter container planting.

Step 5: Watering the grass

 Watering the grass

You should regularly water the newly planted ornamental grasses during their first summer. Most grasses become fairly drought tolerant and don’t need much watering except for prolonged hot or dry periods. But if you are growing grasses in containers, then water them regularly during the summer as they can dry out quickly.

Step 6: Feeding the grass

Grasses are used to grow in quite poor soil in the wild, so if you apply fertilizer once in the spring, then it would be enough. Applying the fertilizer generously will encourage lush foliage at the expense of flowers. When growing grasses in containers, you should apply a general-purpose liquid feed through the growing season from March to October as the plant has less access to nutrients.

Step 7: Pruning and training

Pruning and training

Ornamental grasses can grow into large, overcrowded clumps over time, so you should divide the clumps every five years or so. When cutting back grasses with sharp edges, always wear protective gloves. The pruning needs for the types of grasses that die off in autumn are different from the ones that stay alive all year.

Step 8: Overcoming the problems

Ornamental grasses are generally hardy and suffer from very few problems if you provide them with the right growing conditions. The three problems that they may sometimes suffer from are:

Rust: This is a fungal disease that makes rust-colored patches on the leaves. By dividing the overcrowded clumps and giving air circulation space, you can largely avoid this problem.

No flowers: If your grass gets insufficient light, then it can result in a lack of flowers. So, move your grass to a more open place and reduce shade from the neighboring shrubs.

Rabbits and voles: They eat some types of grasses, so build protective fences and take other measures to block their entry into your garden.

Rabbits and voles

Choosing the right variety of ornamental grass

To make your garden look amazing with ornamental grasses, it is important to choose the right type of grass. In fact, need one that will grow well in the conditions you are going to provide it. Let’s know the types, now according to that could make it easier for you to choose the ornamental grass you are going to grow:

1. Feather Reed Grass

This tolerant and popular ornamental grass looks fantastic all winter long and offers a distinct upright habit.

Sunlight needs: full sun

Soil: well-drained

Size: up to 6 feet

2. Fountain Grass

This grass has soft, feathery plumes that dance in the wind and it is a beautiful, mounding plant, having a graceful shape.

Sunlight needs: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained

Size: Grows to a height of 5 feet

3. Little Bluestem

Little bluestem is a lovely, hardy plant that offers gray-green leaf blades, which produce a beautiful display of purple, orange, and red around autumn.

Sunlight needs: full sun

Soil: well-drained

Size: up to 3 feet

4. Switchgrass

This type of ornamental grass produces airy plumes in late summer and fall. It appears beautiful during the season as well, some varieties offer blue-gray foliage during the season and a brilliant display of gold or red in the autumn.

Sunlight needs: full sun

Soil: well-drained

Size: up to 5 feet

5. Blue Oat grass

Being a low-maintenance ornamental grass, it is non-invasive and has a tidy mounded habit, producing a display of steel-blue color.

Sunlight needs: full sun

Soil: well-drained

Size: up to 4 feet

6. Purple Millet

This incredibly hardy annual grass looks striking in a landscape and offers fantastic burgundy and rich purple foliage resembling fuzzy cattails and also, attracting birds.

Sunlight needs: full sun or partial shade

Soil: well-drained

Size: up to 5 feet

7. Cord Grass

Cord grass grows well in moist and wet soils and is a good variety to grow along the side of a stream or pond as being an underutilized perennial.

Sunlight needs: full sun

Soil: moist

Size: up to 7 feet

8. Forest Grass

Low-growing species, the forest grass has brightly colored foliage to light up shady corners and comes in a nearly-perfect mounding habit.

Sunlight needs: part shade

Soil: well-drained

Size: up to 1 foot

9. Maiden Grass

Maiden grass is one of the most common grasses and becomes big and beautiful, offering narrow, arching foliage and silvery plumes that enchant when the light catches them just right.

Sunlight needs: full sun

Soil: moist, well-drained

Size: up to 8 feet

10.  Fiber Optic Grass

Maiden Grass

Fiber optic grass has a low, mounding habit and fine texture, growing well in container gardens as well. This unusually tender perennial is grown as an annual and proves a good choice for small gardening spaces by staying compact.

Sunlight needs: full sun or partial shade

Soil: moist

Size: up to 6 inches

Not sure how to decorate your front yard even though you have grown ornamental grasses? Read on: What are some cheap simple front yard landscaping ideas

Summing Up

If you want to make your garden look fresh and alive all year long, then it is a good idea to choose a variety of ornamental grass and grow it in different places. Ornamental grasses offer color and beautiful display for most of the year and prove very low-maintenance plants. With just a little care, you can grow these beautifully around the yard. There are different varieties to choose from, so see your weather conditions and the type of soil and grow the grasses accordingly.

Where should I plant ornamental grasses?

These grasses grow best in well-drained soil and full sun. You can ensure good drainage by planting them in raised beds and well-established sun-loving grasses to become drought tolerant.

Which is the easiest ornamental grass that I can grow?

Pink Muhly grass is considered the easiest ornamental grass to grow and care for. On the other hand, this plant grows to about three feet and presents an interesting display around the end of summer. The deep green leaves produce soft pink flowers as the season ends, giving the plant a fuzzy appearance.

In which soil do grasses grow best?

Grasses grow well in sandy soils as they are fast-draining and allow the water to reach the roots of grasses quickly. You can also grow grasses in clay soil as this is firm and holds moisture for the grassroots to absorb.

In which soil do grasses grow best?

How fast will my ornamental grass grow?

Unlike evergreen trees and shrubs, your ornamental grasses are going to grow very quickly. In fact, usually they will grow to their full height and size in just two seasons.