Perennial Ornamental Grasses
|The majority of commonly-grown
grasses are deciduous. Their foliage dies and turns brown in the
fall, but often remains standing.
There are a few evergreen types available that look great all year long.
Most ornamental grasses prefer full sun locations, there are a number of grasses that will provide interest to shaded areas in the garden. Many are beautiful in containers, but bear in mind that container plants are not as hardy as when the grass is planted in-ground. Meaning.... if i grow a grass hardy to Zone 6 in a pot outdoors, it's hardiness is diminished by at least a zone or two. Meaning it became hardy only to zone 8, while in a container. Those are the plants that i have to bring indoors. And they grow great indoors, as well as outdoors.
Do consider the weight of the plants in containers if you have to bring them inside.There are several cold hardy ornamental grasses that will be able to handle the winters outside, but mainly those that you don't grow in pots. Dwarf perennials grown in the garden beds are the way to go.
Indoors - Except for the water-loving varieties, most ornamental grasses won't need extra water once they've become established. Water every other day after planting, gradually extending the time between watering. After 2 or 3 weeks, watering twice a week should be plenty.
Short and Medium Garden Varieties
Blue Oat Grass - Deer tend to leave this plant alone. This ornamental grass attains a height of 2 to 3 feet tall, with a similar spread. It tolerates some shade, but grow it in full sun (and well-drained soil) to enjoy the signature blue hue of its foliage. The plant produces spiky, dark flowers with a bluish tint in summer that turn harvest gold in autumn. Steel-blue foliageZones: 4 to 8
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Northern sea oats- grows 2 to 3 feet high in loose clumps of green foliage. Its name comes from its seed pods, which look like oats. This deer-resistant ornamental grass is cold-hardy to zone 5.
**My Top Pick for decorative grass
to use everywhere - Elijah Blue Fescue.
Blue oat grass - The plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall, with thin spiky leaves and a clumping growth habit. It is non-spreading, which makes it an excellent little accent plant in rock gardens and small beds. Similar to the dwarf fescue,"Elijah Blue". Taller, and not as round and dense.
Zones: 4 to 8
Hakone grass - It grows 12 to 18 inches tall with a graceful, arching growth habit.
USDA Zone: 5 to 9
Sedge Grass - When grown in containers, their bronze tinged leaves glow in the sun, while the narrow blades pick up the slightest breeze. Leatherleaf sedge grows 1 to 2 feet tall, with fine-textured, upright foliage.
USDA Zone: 6 to 9
Feed the container plants with a high nitrogen fertilizer a couple of times during the summer, and cut them back each early spring and late winter. Other than that, the major maintenance is dividing them when they outgrow their containers, which can happen quite quickly.
Tidying Up Grasses In The Garden
Winter interest is one of the biggest reasons for growing ornamental grass, and you will miss that if you trim in fall. When spring does come, you cut the plant back early enough to get the old growth out of the way before new growth begins so that you cut the new shoots, since they'll be in your way as you remove dead stalks. Fall is fine, but birds and other habitat creatures appreciate the old growth.
I have found that the easiest and neatest thing to do when trimming it back is to do what hair professional do. I gather a handful at a time and cut it, trash the trimmings, and then i move onto the next handful. A handful at a time is way better than chasing and picking up those fine grass clippings from the ground, after the wind has had it's way with them.
Recommended Reading and Nursery Stock
Lots of what I
grow and how i grow them are available from nurseries and
on Amazon. My supplies are quite heavy, so the free shipping makes me smile. Not to mention
not having to go out and get the stuff, then drag it home. I am the World's Laziest Gardener.
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