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Explore Various Types of Ornamental Grasses

Explore a selection of ornamental grasses that are a quick and easy to grow.

Tall grass in wetland.

The sky's the limit when it comes to wonderful ornamental grasses. Here are a few of expert Rick Darke's favorites:

'Dallas Blues' switch grass (Panicum virgatum):
A tall clumper with wispy panicles, the bold presence of switch grass in the garden makes this grass a great alternative to Miscanthus. May self-sow in moist climates, but it won't disrupt native habitats in the Midwest and East. In drier areas, it won't self-sow without a lot of supplemental watering. USDA Zone 4.

Pink muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris):
This very ornamental clump grass generates a mass of frothy pink flower panicles in September to November. Flowers hold in winter. Drought-tolerant. Three feet tall. USDA Zone 6.

Miscanthus 'Purpurascens':
The flower heads aren't the only draw. In fall the foliage turns red-orange. Blooms early but rarely self-sows. USDA Zone 4.

'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora):
A lovely upright grass that's tolerant of a wide range of conditions. Narrow, vertical flowers begin appearing in early summer. The seeds are generally sterile, so self-sowing is rare. USDA Zone 4.

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium):
A prairie grass that's used for forage, little bluestem varies from green to gray-blue, turning rusty, tan and dark orange-red in fall. 'The Blues' offers gray-blue foliage that's streaked with pink and magenta, making this grass a sparkling addition to a collection of other grasses or to a pastel garden. Two to four feet tall. USDA Zone 3.

Carex morrowii 'Silver Sceptre':
In sedges, flowering is usually insignificant, but it's the foliage that rules this huge family. 'Silver Sceptre' is one of many attractive variegated cultivars; it has creamy-white leaf margins. Tolerant of a wide range of soils. 12 inches tall. USDA Zone 6 (5).

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