Ornamental Grasses for Every Situation

Choose the ornamental grass based on the season, the height and the type of soil.
Related To:
Flowing Ornamental Grasses

Flowing Ornamental Grasses

No other plant can add movement and catch light like ornamental grasses. They can soften, yet enhance masonry elements with their airy form and uniquely capture and filter the sun's rays. Tip: Be sure to place them where they can catch the light, which will shine through their foliage and flower heads, making them glow and shimmer in the breezes.

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
  • Keep Reading

    Next Up

    Hibiscus, Rose Mallow

    (Hibiscus moscheutos )

    Landscaping Grasses

    How to make the most of your yard with ornamental landscaping grasses that multi-task and look fabulous.

    Hakone Grass

    Tips on this ornamental grass, also known as variegated Japanese reed grass.

    Blue Fescue

    This small-scale ornamental grass produces big-time results in the garden.

    Feather Reed Grass

    Tips on growing one of the best ornamental grasses.

    Types of Ornamental Grasses

    Ten great grasses that will bring your garden to cheers.

    Our Favorite Ornamental Grasses

    Add some of these go-with-the-flow grasses to your garden for extra interest throughout the growing season.

    An Extra-Easy Zoysia

    Selected cultivars, including 'Zorro', are superior to the species.

    Invasive Ornamental Grasses

    Learn how to control these attractive, but potentially invasive, "bad guys" of the ornamental grass world.

    Carex Flagellifera: Favorite Plants

    This ginger-brown perennial grass is a winner.

    1,000+ Photos

    Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

    Follow Us Everywhere

    Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.