Enhancing Your Landscape: Exploring The Beauty Of Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grass Plumes
Ornamental Grass Plumes

Ornamental grasses are an excellent addition to any landscape, as they can add texture, movement, and interest to your garden. 

Not only are they low maintenance, but they also provide a natural look to your outdoor space. Let's explore five of the most popular grass species that can help enhance your landscape:

  • Little Bluestem
  • Switch Grass
  • Feather Reed 
  • Miscanthus 
  • Prairie Dropseed

Monrovia has a great selection of hardy varieties. I've included a link at the end of each highlighted species where you can check out available varieties.

Little Bluestem - Schizachyrium scoparium

This grass is known for its striking blue-green color, which turns reddish-orange in the fall. It is a hardy, drought-tolerant grass that can grow up to four feet tall. This grass is perfect for creating a natural meadow look in your garden, providing habitat for birds and other wildlife. Little Bluestem can be pesky, though, self-seeding in areas you may not want. Explore these varieties here.

  • Blue Heaven Little Bluestem
  • Standing Ovation
  • Smoke Signal

Switch Grass - Panicum virgatum

Switch Grass is another excellent option. This grass is known for its tall, upright habit and feathery seed heads. It can grow up to six feet tall and is drought-tolerant. Switch Grass is also a favorite of many birds and butterflies and an excellent choice for erosion control. Explore these varieties here.

  • Prairie Dog
  • Shenandoah
  • Northwind

Feather Reed Grass - Calamagrostis x acutiflora

The Feather Reed Grass is the workhorse for landscapers. This durable and hardy grass can be grown in various settings. It has narrow, upright leaves and feathery seed heads that turn golden brown in the fall. Feather Reed Grass can grow up to four feet tall and is perfect for adding structure to your garden. Explore these varieties here.

  • Karl Foerster's 
  • Overdam
  • Avalanche

Miscanthus Grass - Miscanthus sinensis

The Miscanthus group is a popular ornamental grass known for its dramatic height and texture and feathery fall plumes that sway in the breeze. It can grow ten feet tall and has long, narrow leaves that turn golden-brown in the fall. This grass is perfect as an accent or to add privacy to your garden by creating a natural screen. The Miscanthus varieties can be invasive due to their rhizomatous solid root system. Explore these varieties here.

  • Variegated Japanese Silver
  • Porcupine
  • Silver Feather

Prairie Dropseed Grass - Sporobolus heterolepis

A low-maintenance grass perfect for adding texture to your garden. It has fine, thread-like leaves and produces a delicate fragrance when in bloom (some say like popcorn). Prairie Dropseed Grass can grow up to three feet tall and is a favorite of many gardeners because of its compact habit and pleasing golden fall colors. Interestingly, I could not find any improved varieties available. It's hard to improve on perfection.

In conclusion, adding ornamental grasses to your landscape can enhance its beauty and provide a natural look to your outdoor space. Little Bluestem, Switch Grass, Feather Reed Grass, Miscanthus Grass, and Prairie Dropseed Grass are just a few examples of the many ornamental grasses available to help you achieve your desired look.

Our video below discusses the aforementioned varieties and a few additional varieties you may enjoy including non-hardy varieties (for Zone 4) that work great in annual beds and containers.

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