10 favorite ornamental grasses

See how to use beautiful, easy-care clumping grasses in garden beds and pots

Ornamental Grasses

Steven Gunther

How to use ornamental grasses

An abundance of grasses ― including golden pheasant's tail and green Miscanthus transmorrisonensis ― lends softness and movement to this garden, while agaves and other succulents add starchier textures.

So how to get started? Learn the difference between good plants and weeds. Browse through nurseries and look through books, such as Landscaping with Ornamental Grasses (Sunset Publishing Corporation, 2002; $15).

Then choose varieties of grasses that are appropriate for where you live—some are frost tender, others can be invasive in some areas. Most grasses are sold as container-grown plants in 1- and 5-gallon cans.

Click ahead for 10 favorites.

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Atlas Fescue

Brown Cannon III

Gardening with ornamental grasses: Copper fringe

Atlas fescue (Festuca mairei) rises above burgundy-copper foliage of Tradescantia ‘Baby Bunny Bellies’.

 

‘Red Bunny Tails’ grass

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Gardening with ornamental grasses: Autumn allure

Pennisetum messiacum ‘Red Bunny Tails’ captures sunlight in its seed heads while at its base, two plants of ‘Crackling Fire’ million bells bear blooms in smoldering autumn hues

Wild about grasses

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Gardening with ornamental grasses: A sweet scent

Chasmanthium latifolium and Acorus gramineus  ‘Licorice’ get into a delicious tangle in an oval gray stone container.

When bruised the acorus’s leaves have a licorice scent.

More:  Wild about grasses

Grass and lime green moss

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Gardening with ornamental grasses: About lime

Two kinds of plants in two shades of green create the spare look of a Japanese garden in a pot.

Mounding Scotch moss (Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’) planted from flats spreads a soft chartreuse carpet around a cluster of three upright ‘Golden Rocket’ rush (Baumea rubiginosa ‘Variegata’), planted from 1-gallon cans.

Mondo grass surrounds the faux stone pot (it’s really made from a mix of clay and fiberglass).

Baby bamboo and moss

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Gardening with ornamental grasses: Green on green

Baby bamboo (Pogonatherum paniceum) spreads a canopy of lacy foliage over deep green Irish moss in this planting that recalls a Northwest shade garden.

Grass with Purple Seeds

Caren Alpert

Gardening with ornamental grasses: Purple haze

Chocolate purple seed heads top Chondropetalum tectorum alongside Miscanthus transmorrisonensis in this meadow.

Juncus polyanthemos

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Gardening with ornamental grasses: Soft silver

Australian silver rush (Juncus polyanthemos) is paired with velvety foliage of Plectranthus ‘Heigh-Ho Silver’ in a square zinc container.

Pennisetum setaceum

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Gardening with ornamental grasses: Spun gold

A single Pennisetum setaceum ‘Red Riding Hood’ fills a glazed sea green container. Pinkish blond seed heads shimmer atop the dwarf fountain grass.

 

wild rye grass

Caren Alpert

Gardening with ornamental grasses: wild as the wind

Creeping meadow of wild rye grass (Leymus triticoides), also called  ‘Grey Dawn’.

Pennisetum spathiolatum grass

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Gardening with ornamental grasses: A hint of blue

Slender veldt grass (Pennisetum spathiolatum) fans out above a plump rosette of echeveria and mounding Plectranthus ‘Blue Yonder’ crowned with delicate sprays of blue flowers.

Printed from:
http://www.sunset.com/garden/flowers-plants/garden-grasses-00418000068953/