Six Types of Meadow Grasses

Learn what type of meadow grass is best suited for your outdoor spaces and how to maintain it with this gardening guide.

  • Fragrant Sweet Vernal

    Sweet Vernal (Anthoxanthum odoratum)

    This short-growing meadow grass is one of the first to flower, producing an attractive brownish-yellow flower spike in mid-spring. Its common name — sweet vernal grass — refers to the vanilla scent released when it is cut for hay. This fully hardy plant prefers full to partial sun and well-drained to moist soil. H: 12 inches (30 cm); S: 12 inches (30 cm)

  • Quaking Grass Appears to Tremble in Wind

    Quaking Grass (Briza media)

    One of the most attractive meadow grasses, quaking grass produces delicate, pendent, purplish-green flower spikes that appear to tremble in the wind. The green seedheads slowly turn yellow over the summer months. It prefers alkaline soils. This fully hardy plant prefers full to partial sun and well-drained to moist soil. H: 16 inches (40 cm); S: 20 inches (50 cm)

  • Crested Dogs Tail

    Crested Dog's Tail (Cynosurus cristatus)

    A common grassland species, crested dog's tail has a slightly tufted look and is tolerant of poor, infertile soils. It has attractive, light green foliage with elegant flower spikes. The seedheads are flat on one side, giving the grass a crested appearance. This fully hardy plant prefers full to partial sun and well-drained soil. H: 20 inches (50 cm); S: 20 inches (50 cm)

  • Crested Hair Grass

    Crested Hair Grass (Koeleria macrantha)

    Crested hair grass is commonly found in grassland habitats. It is a tufted perennial with long leaf blades; like Cynosurus cristatus, the seedhead is flat on one side, making it look as if it has a crest running up it. Its height can vary depending on its conditions. This fully hardy plant prefers full to partial sun and well-drained soil. H: 16 inches (40 cm); S: 12 inches (30 cm)

  • Cat's Tail Grass

    Cat's Tail (Phleum bertolonii)

    The perennial smaller cat's tail tolerates a wide range of soil types from sand to clay but particularly thrives in cool, moist conditions. It bears attractive, cylindrical flowerheads and is very similar to Phleum pratense, only slightly smaller. This fully hardy plant prefers full to partial sun and well-drained to moist soil. H: 12 inches (30 cm); S: 12 inches (30 cm)

  • Meadow of Yellow Oat Grass

    Yellow Oat Grass (Trisetum flavescens)

    A medium-sized perennial, yellow oat grass prefers alkaline soil and thrives in poor, infertile conditions. It has flat leaves and attractive delicate, yellow, oat-like flowerheads. It is more drought-tolerant than many other grasses. This fully hardy plant prefers full to partial sun and well-drained soil. H: 20 inches (50 cm); S: 20 inches (50 cm)

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