Ornamental Grass Growing Tips

Growing Ornamental Grass can be easy and it will create a natural effect in your own garden. Aim for a mixture of textures, shapes and colours using leaves, flowers and seed heads.
In an open setting, with a low sun shining through, many grass plants can produce stunning effects.

Growing Tips

  • Remove dry seed heads to prevent self seeding
  • Tie tops together to aid cutting back in late winter with shears or a strimmer.
  • Select perennial, clump forming varieties rather than annuals or spreading grasses that can take over a small bed. (I avoid Phalaris for that reason).
  • Ornamental Grasses need watering if it hasn’t rained for a couple of weeks, they are less tolerant of drought than lawn grasses.
  • Use massed together as ground cover or in containers as an alternative to bedding situations.
  • Propagate by dividing clumps. Even new containers bought from a nursery may divide into several plants.
  • Large grasses need to be planted 3-4 feet apart but can be used to form a unusual hedge.
  • Feed annually and keep tidy and you will get a lot of enjoyment from grasses.
  • Use seed heads and some leaves in flower arrangements.

Andropogon Prairie Grass

  • Andropogon glomeratus Bushy Beard Grass Inhabiting moist ground, this is a very attractive ornamental grass has narrow leaves turning copper-orange in autumn.
  • Andropogon scoparius Little Blue Stem Prairie Grass, is one of the best landscaping grasses, 3-5 ft tall turning bright red tinged orange and gold in autumn.
  • Andropogon scoparius ‘Prairie Blues’Little Blue-stem, forms dense and tidy clumps of upright, blue-grey, stiff, thin, ribbon-like, foliage.
  • Andropogon gerardii Big Blue Stem Prairie Grass, a basic Prairie grass 3-5 ft high.

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Other Grasses to Grow

  • Low growing grass generally grow under 12″ such as Carex Hachijoensis Evergold or Golden Sedge,  Holcus Mollis variegated Velvet grass, Festuca Glauca with tufts of blue grey leaves, Festuca amethystina also with blue grey leaves, Imperata cylindrica Rubra has bright red ends or Foxtail.
  • Tall grasses include, Stipa Gigantea and Miscanthus sinensis both have plumes 6′ tall or Pampas grass (Cortaderia sellona) can be 7-8′ tall. New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax) and variegated Prairie grass (Spartina pectinata Aureomarginata) who’s leaves turn orange in Autumn both grow over 4′
  • Mid sized grasses 1-4′ high include some descriptive names Hare’s-tail, Squirreltail, Witchgrass and Mosquito grass. Manna grass (Glyceria maxima) has cream stripped leaves with a pink tinged base or the rampant Gardeners Garters (Phalaris aruninacea) has white stripped foliage.

Other Resources

National Council for Conservation of Plants and Gardens ‘Conservation through Cultivation.’
Garden Organic National Charity for Organic Gardening.
BBC Gardening

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  1. Seedheads Worth Growing | Gardeners Tips - June 28, 2010

    […] natural look from planting a range of different ornamental grasses for their seedheads has become very […]

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