If you’re not sure about ornamental grasses, it’s time to consider them. They’re exciting and the perfect strategy to add texture, variety, and color to any patch of ground.
There is a type of ornamental grass to suit everybody’s individual needs, whether you want a statement feature or a smaller grass to fill borders, a vibrant bloomer, or one that is neutral and calming.
In general, ornamental grasses are also very easy to grow and maintain. Each will have its own, more specific set of instructions, though, so make sure you understand their needs and tendencies before you buy.
If you’re new to the ornamental grass scene, here are the top 10 varieties of ornamental grass for your flower beds.
1. Hardy Fountain Grass
Scientifically known as Pennisetum villosum, this variety of fountain grass is a hardy perennial that can withstand winter temperatures down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. This ornamental grass adds so much interest to your yard, with delicate white blooms like whiskered caterpillars.
Hardy fountain grass is perfect, especially if you’re in an area without much rainfall. It doesn’t require much to thrive but will give a lot in return. This grass will contain itself; however, in hotter climates, rhizomes will cause the plant to spread.
2. Mexican Feather Grass
As the name suggests, this feather grass is native to Central America and loves hot and sunny climates, although it will happily tolerate cooler temperatures, as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mexican feather grass has a delicate, wispy appearance and is perfect for smaller yards and beds. Although it can grow excessively and invade an area, with careful care to keep it under control, it will thrive and bring year-round texture, mainly as other perennials sleep for the winter.
3. Golden Japanese Forest Grass
Golden Japanese Forest Grass is an eye-catcher of grass with luscious green leaves that cascade over one another, settling on the surrounding ground.
It’s easy to grow in moisture-rich soil but will die back if the weather is too cold and during the winter. In these instances, prune the leaves around, and they will reappear the following year.
Golden Japanese Forest Grass is not invasive and slow-growing, so you don’t need to worry about it taking over. It’s perfect for a small yard, as it won’t exceed heights of 24 inches.
4. Blue Fescue
Blue Fescue is a particularly colorful variety of ornamental grass that glows aquamarine blue, adding a calming feature to your garden. It works beautifully amongst flowers boasting white, pink, and coral shades.
Also known as Elijah Blue, Blue Fescue grows in small clumps, low to the ground, and adds the perfect contrast to taller plants, but equally looks beautiful alone. You don’t need to worry about this ornamental grass invading your beds; it’ll stay put once you’ve planted it.
5. Muhly Grass
This spectacular grass is perfect for pink lovers and makes any flower bed fit for a princess. It grows in clumps, reaching 2-3 meters in height, but is incredibly easy to grow and happy in drought conditions.
Muhly grass is a perennial and, after cutting back in during the winter, will regrow and flourish with its pink flowers the following spring.
6. Little Bluestem
Little Bluestem is a gem for your garden. It adds a tremendous blue hue to your beds and borders, and it’s simple to grow, tolerating any soil type as long as it has excellent drainage.
Little bluestem is native to the prairie lands of North America and will also provide the beautiful birds of your yard with a meal when the flower heads produce their tiny, abundant seeds. Little bluestem can grow to heights of 3 meters.
You don’t necessarily need to cut it back, but dividing it every few years is a good idea.
7. Fibre Optic Grass
Fibre Optic grass is a fantastic addition to your yard, especially if you live in wetter regions or have a pond. This gorgeous, small ornamental grass loves moisture and will be happy sitting in the shallows of your pond, bringing much need oxygen to the creatures living within.
Although it’s not actually a type of grass, this variety of the Sedge family of plants is so named because they closely resemble fiber optics; the long thin stems end with what seems like a dot of bright light.
8. Pheasant’s Tail Grass
Pheasant’s tail grass is a great option that will add year-round structure and color to your yard. Named to reflect the auburn color scheme of the pheasant. As a young plant, green shoots will emerge, transitioning to the orange shades as they mature.
Originating in Australasia, pheasant’s tail grass loves bright sunny conditions but isn’t too concerned about the soil type, as long as it has excellent drainage.
Silvergrass is a perfect ornamental to add to your borders and beds between bursts of color.
Its muted, neutral tones will add a welcome color break but still add interest and variety throughout the year. Silvergrass grows tall and has fantastic feather-like additions which the birds love to feast on.
Silvergrass originally comes from the subtropical regions of Africa and Asia, so it loves the sun and warmth. Because silver grass grows in such clumps with vast, tight root systems, you can use it to tackle soil erosion.
10. Pampas Grass
Pampas Grass is suited to a larger yard. It can grow to 13 feet and has a bushy appearance that needs space to thrive. Pampas grass is well known for its neutral, large feather-like plumes, making it perfect for planting alongside more vibrant flowers.
Watch out, though, in hot climates, pampas grass tends to spread quickly and needs control, so it doesn’t take over, which isn’t a problem in more temperate regions where it will remain relatively contained.
Many choose pampas grass as a decorative feature for their home. It will maintain its mesmerizing texture, and it has a long life.
Once you have cut it from your garden, dry it out in an airy place for a fortnight. Once it is fully dry, display it in a large vase or pot, or create a pampas grass garland.