Types of Ornamental Grasses

Despite their light, airy qualities, ornamental grasses have a way of making a big impact and rounding out any garden space.
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©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Bold Ornamental Grasses Soften Stone Steps

Oversized natural stone steps leading to the terrace are softened with clumps of bold ornamental grasses.

Miscanthus Grass Flower Plumes in Late Summer

Miscanthus sinensis, Eulalia grass, is an elegantly shaped grass with narrow leaves and a vase like form. It shows bronze autumn color and can stand throughout winter to provide architectural interest. Tassel like inflorescences appear in fall.

Fountain Grass

Pennisetum, or fountain grass, is a graceful, elegant ornamental grass with plumes resembling bottle brushes that appear in summer. These attractive flowers persist from summer until fall.

Deschampsia Features Cloudlike Spray of Tiny Golden Flowers

Deschampsia cespitosa, Goldtau, has deep, dark green foliage, a later blooming period, clumping forming habit and airy, golden yellow flowers that emerge in June and last through August. Attractive seed heads persist through winter.

Anemanthele Grass Has Gauzy Blooms and Arching Foliage

Anemanthele grass is a feathery cascading grass that is very light and weightless, with reddish tones from mid summer on. In late summer the seedheads fluff out for a decorative look.

Stipa Grass Is Distinguished by Tall Stems of Golden Oatlike Flowers

Stipa tenuissima produces tan flowers on thin, bright green foliage in late summer; and moves in the slightest breeze. Plants are covered with masses of elegant pale feathery seed heads which are held a little above the foliage.

Feather Reed Grasses Are Good in Borders

Feather reed grass, or Calamagrostis, is an upright growing grass that forms a stiff clump. In summer it produces tall flowerheads that start off pale green and gradually turn bright golden yellow. These move in the breeze and last into the winter months.

Striking Evergreen Blue Oat Grass

Helictotrichon, or blue oat grass, is a striking architectural steely blue evergreen grass, which makes a spiky sphere. In early summer this is tipped by an upright spray of grey flower heads. It looks brilliant in a gravel garden or dry border.

Prairie Switch Grass Flowers Float Above Foliage

Prairie style switchgrass, Panicum, is a summer perennial grass that is native to North America. The seed head is spreading and open. Foliage turns a beautiful yellow in fall. It holds its form well throughout winter and is an excellent dried material.