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Science-based gardening information, videos, & resources created for Colorado communities with support from Green Industry.

1002 – Ornamental Grasses   arrow

Description: Little bluestem in winter

What are ornamental grasses?

Ornamental grasses were only recently introduced to the American garden. Their dramatic form adds a valuable element to gardens. With the slightest breeze, a garden with grasses comes alive with movement and sound, plus ornamental grasses add fall and winter interest to gardens.

Are ornamental grasses easy to grow?

Ornamental grasses adapt to most areas and are easy to grow. They can thrive in poorer soils where many other garden plants don’t, and few pests bother them. They are available in a variety of heights, colors and textures.

What are the more common ornamental grasses?

Description: fountain grassOrnamental grasses have become more available in recent years. Among the grasses suitable for moderately moist to moist gardens is feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora). Its upright, wheat-like look and golden-buff winter color make it a four-season garden asset. Red fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum), an annual, and maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis), have been widely used for years and also require moist conditions

Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is a short grass that does well in shady areas. Its showy, drooping flowers and bamboo-like foliage make it a great accent plant for the garden.

Description: fountain grass

Ravenna grass (Saccharum ravennae), also called plume grass, is a good substitute for the large pampas grass, which is too tender for our area. Giant, Chinese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis ) lends a tropical appearance to large scale landscapes. However, it is highly flammable and can become a fire hazard. To experience some of the beauty of grasses in the garden, visit a local nursery, garden center or botanic garden. With the wide availability of ornamental grasses, a grass suited to any gardening situation can be found.

For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ video(s).

For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).

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