Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses add a visual interest to the landscape. They help prevent soil erosion, provide a habitat for wildlife, are easy to maintain, handle heat well and once established, don't require a lot of water.  There are a variety of sizes, colors, textures and leaf shape.  Small compact grasses work well as borders or can be used in containers. Large varieties add height to any area as a specimen plant or grown with perennials such as Echinacea, Rudbeckia , Liatris and Perovskia.   Five of my favorite grasses are:

 Feather Reed Grass
Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' 
  • Narrow, upright, clumping  habit
  •  Pink Feathery flower turning wheat colored
  •  5-6' by 2-3'
Elijah Blue Fescue
Festuca ovina 'Elijah Blue'
  • Small, dense mounds of silver-blue flat or rolled blades
  •  Flowers slightly above with a tan-beige coloring
  •  1' by 1'
Maiden Grass 
Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'
  • Dense, upright clumps of arching green blades
  •  Red to brown in the fall, seedheads are copper colored
  •  6-7' by 5'

Indian Steel Indian Grass 
Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel'
  • Upright native grass with blue-green foliage
  •  Foliage changes to light brown with yellow stems in the fall
  •  3-4' by 1-2'
Prairie Dropseed
 
Sporobolus heterolepis
  • Mounding native grass with arching green blades
  • Seedheads smell like buttered popcorn
  • 1-2' x 1-2'
By Kate Williams, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery

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