Ornamental Grasses for Every Situation

Choose the ornamental grass based on the season, the height and the type of soil.

Pampas Grass

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


    • 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


    • 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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