Ornamental Grasses for Every Situation

Choose the ornamental grass based on the season, the height and the type of soil.
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  2. Landscaping
Pampas Grass Late Summer Display Amidst Pink Flowers

Pampas Grass Late Summer Display Amidst Pink Flowers

Photo by: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pampas grass is a large ornamental grass that produces an eye-catching late-summer display.

Dream of the size, texture and color of the ornamental grass you want and there's a variety to suit. But even better, you can choose according to the season, the height, and the type of soil — and amount of sun — you can offer. Here are some top hits in each category:

Warm-season grasses

  • Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), 3-10 feet
  • Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), 3-6 feet
  • Amur silver grass (Miscanthus floridulus), 8-12 feet
  • Switch-grass (Panicum virgatum), 4-10 feet
  • Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Cupreum'), 1-2 feet

    Cool-season grasses

    • Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora), 4-6 feet
    • Sedge (Carex), 3 inches to 4 feet
    • Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia caespitosa), 1-4 feet
    • Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens), 1-5 feet
    • Squirreltail grass (Hordeum jubatum), 1 to 2-1/2 feet

    Sun

    • Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), 6-10 feet
    • Dwarf pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila'), 3-5 feet
    • Ravenna grass (Erianthus ravennae), 3-12 feet
    • Maire's fescue (Festuca mairei), 2-3 feet
    • Hare's-tail grass (Lagurus ovatus), 1-2 feet
    • Porcupine grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus'), 4-6 feet
    • Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), 2-5 feet

    Shade

    • Sedge (Carex), 3 inches to 4 feet
    • Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia caespitosa), 1-4 feet
    • Variegated hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'), 6-18 inches
    • Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron'), 1 to 1-1/2 feet
    • Variegated silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus'), 4-6 feet
    • Frost grass (Spodiopogon sibiricus), 2-4 feet
    • Giant feather grass (Stipa gigantea), 1-1/2 to 7 feet

    Wet Soil

    • Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora), 4-6 feet
    • Sedge (Carex sp.), 1-4 feet
    • Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale), 1-4 feet
    • Manna grass (Glyceria maxima), 2-3 feet
    • Miscanthus, 2-7 feet
    • Banded bulrush (Scirpus tabernaemontani var. zebrenus), 2-4 feet

    Moist Soil

    • Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light', 4-5 feet
    • Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurescens, 3-4 feet
    • Needlegrass (Stipa calamagrostis), 2-3 feet

    Dry Soil

    • Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia caespitosa), 1-4 feet
    • Switch-grass (Panicum virgatum), 4-10 feet
    • Indian grass (Sorghastrum avenaceum), 2-5 feet
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