ornamental grasses

Ornamental GrassesAcorus
Sweet Flag-Part Shade/Shade

g. "Variegatus"
The creamy-white variegated leaf blades of this plant are stunning when used in contrast with other moisture loving perennials.
Height: 10-12" Zones 4-11 

Calamagrostis
Feather Reed Grass- Sun/Part Shade 

Xa. 'Karl Foerster'
2001 Perennial Plant of the Year. Versatile, attractive and care-free ornamental grass. Deep green, lustrous foliage in early spring lasts all the way to winter. Upright clump with feathery plumes. Moist, well-draining soil. Full sun to part shade.
Height: 3-4' Zones 4-10

Xa. 'Overdam'
Similar to 'Karl Foerster,' but the foliage is variegated with creamy white, vertical stripes. Plant in moist, well draining soil.
Height: 3-4' Zones 4-10

 Carex
Sedge- Sun/Part Shade

morrowii 'Ice Dance'
Variegated sedge. Foliage has a wide leaf and prominent creamy white margins.Height: 12-18" Zones 5-9

Chasmanthium
River Oats- Sun/Part Shade/Shade

latifolium
North American Native. Dangling, oat like spikelets droop from rich, bamboo like foliage. Useful as a formal accent in mass plantings, or as a container plant. Moist soil.
Will grow in shade!

Festuca
Fescue Grass- Sun/Part Shade

glauca 'Boulder Blue'
Named by Steve Schmidt. The bluest fescue to date. Compact form with intense blue tufts or wiry, hair like foliage.
Height: 6-10" Zones 4-8

g. 'Elijah Blue'
Probably the most well known ornamental fescue. Silvery blue foliage forms a small, dense mound with flower spikes reaching a foot above the foliage.
Height: 6-10" Zones 4-8

 Hakonechloa
Japanese Forest Grass- Sun/Part Shade/Shade

macra 'Aureola'
PPA Perennial Plant of the Year 2009. Slow, creeping, golden variegated grass. Use in shady beds or containers. Its graceful arching habit is reminiscent of running water. Hits of red and pink appear in fall.
Height: 14-18" Zones 6-9

m. 'All Gold'
Golden, ribbon like leaf blades create a welcome bright spot at the edge of a shady area.
Height: 14-20" Zones 6-9 

Helictotrichon
Blue Oat Grass- Sun

s. Saphirsprudel 'Sapphire Fountain'
Typical of the species, but with wider foliage and brighter blue coloring.
Height: 24-30" Zones 4-9

 Juncus
Rush- Sun
Juncus is a warm-season grass. Warm-season grasses won't start growing until mid to late spring or even early summer. Their major growth and flowering happens when the weather is hot. They will usually turn shades of brown for the winter.

 'Curly Wurly' Juncus effuses Corkscrew Rush ProvenWinners
Despite a preference for abundant moisture, soft rush will perform surprisingly well in average garden soils as long as they receive consistent irrigation. Clumps are often slow to establish, but once established will spread by creeping rhizomes. Soft rush may be grown in tubs or containers sunk in the mud to control unwanted rhizome spread. Plants will also naturalize by self-seeding. In cold climates, clumps die to the ground in winter. Cut back old foliage in early spring.
Height: 12-18" Zones 5-9

 'Quartz Creek' Juncus effuses Soft Rush ProvenWinners
Despite a preference for abundant moisture, soft rush will perform surprisingly well in average garden soils as long as they receive consistent irrigation. Clumps are often slow to establish, but once established will spread by creeping rhizomes. Soft rush may be grown in tubs or containers sunk in the mud to control unwanted rhizome spread. Plants will also naturalize by self-seeding. In cold climates, clumps die to the ground in winter. Cut back old foliage in early spring.
Height: 15-24" Zones 4-9

Leymus
Blue Lyme Grass- Sun/Part Shade/Shade

 arenarius
Metallic, blue gray foliage forms an arching clump that is tolerant of sand, sun and drought.
Height: 3-4' Zones 4-9

a. 'Blue Dune'
More blue in color, and demonstrates a better resistance to heat and humidity than is typical to the species.
Height: 3-4' Zones 4-9 

Miscanthus- Sun 

sinensis 'Adagio' Dwarf Maiden Grass
Compact, forming a neat mound with a prolific production of blooms. Its narrow, green foliage arches nicely with blooms appearing by August. An excellent selection for smaller gardens and plantings.
Height: 4-5' Zones 6-10

s. 'Gold Bar'
This slow growing Miscanthus is the most heavily gold striped to date. Its tight, upright spiky habit is perfect for landscape and containers.
Height: 3-5' Zones 6-9

s. 'Gracillimus' Maiden Grass
Named for its graceful, rounded form and delicate narrow foliage, 'Gracillimus' is the most widely known Miscanthus variety. Its blooms are an attractive copper red color, appearing in October. Prefers well drained soil.
Height: 7' Zones 5-10

s. 'Graziella' Maiden Grass
A wonderful introduction by Ernst Pagels, 'Graziella' has very similar attributes of 'Gracillimus,' although more upright and arching. Its green foliage is fine and narrow with very attractive blooms held high above the foliage. These blooms open early in August making 'Graziella' an excellent selection for northern growers. Foliage turns reddish orange in fall. Overall, a very beautiful and graceful plant. Prefers well drained soil.
Height: 5-7' Zones 5-10

s. 'Morning Light' Variegated Maiden Grass
One of the best and most sought after Miscanthus varieties. 'Morning Light' is a compact grower and offers a fine textured appearance similar to 'Gracillimus.' Its leaves are also narrow and its form is neat and arching. Blooms are reddish-bronze, appearing as late as October. Noticeable white edged variegation. Makes a wonderful container plant. Prefers well drained soil.
Height: 3-5' Zones 5-10

 s. 'Sarabande' Narrow Leaf Maiden Grass
Very narrow foliage that is among the finest of all the Miscanthus varieties. Golden and copper colored seed heads in August. An excellent alternative to 'Gracillimus' for its sterile seed. Prefers well drained soil.
Height: 5-6' Zones 4-10

s. 'Silberfeder' Silver Feather Grass
Large, feathery seed heads rise high above the foliage. Deep green foliage has distinct silver mid rib and a gracefully arching shape. Ranks as more cold hardy than most of the Miscanthus species. Prefers well drained soil.
Height: 6-7' Zones 4-10

s. 'Strictus' Porcupine Grass
'Strictus' is recognized for its banded variegation of golden-yellow bars. Its growth habit is very upright, resembling porcupine quills. Can tolerate a wide range of soils.
Height: 7-9' Zones 5-10

s. 'Variegatus' Variegated Japanese Silver Grass
A vintage cultivar used in garden landscapes since the early 20th Century. White and green variegated foliage arches heavily, crating a wide mound. Blooms mid-September. Prefers well drained soil.
Height: 5-7' Zones 5-10

s. 'Zebrinus' Zebra Grass
Characterized by its banded variegation of golden-yellow bars. Foliage habit is more arching than upright, distinguishing it from 'Strictus.' Blooms appear in September and emerge pinkish copper. Prefers well drained soil.
Height: 8' Zone 5-10

s. var. condensatus 'Cabaret' Japanese Silver Grass
Very wide, ribbon like foliage with a creamy white center and dark green margins. Useful as a specimen grass, a garden accent, in mass plantings, cut for fresh flower bouquets, and is even remarkable as a container plant. Prefers well drained soil.Height: 9' Zones 5-10

s. var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan' Japanese Silver Grass
Nearly identical in character to 'Cabaret,' but has an exact reverse variegation. Foliage has a deep green center and wide creamy white margins. Prefers well drained soil.Height: 9' Zones 5-10

Panicum
Switch Grass- Sun

amarum 'Dewey Blue'
Powder blue foliage and blue tinged flowers make this native beach grass an outstanding selection. Noted for its beauty as well as its usefulness in sand dune stabilization. Selected and named by Rick Darke and Dale Hendricks.
Height: 5' Zones 5-9

v. 'Heavy Metal'
Glaucous blue leaves and a strong upright form create a formal appearance that is softened only by its delicate seed heads. Tolerates a wide range of soils.
Height: 5' Zones 4-10 

v. 'Prairie Sky'
Similar in appearance to 'Heavy Metal,' although not as upright, and boasts a slightly bluer color. An excellent switch grass for a true blue color in the landscape. In the fall the plant is topped by a haze of sandy colored flower spikes. Grows in a wide variety of soil types and moisture levels. Drought tolerant once established, but best with moderate water.
Height: 5' Zones 4-10

v. 'Shenandoah'
Best burgundy-red coloring of all the switch grasses. Deep green foliage takes on red hues by midsummer. The coloring becomes more pronounced until it turns deep burgundy wine color by September. Valued for its tight clumping habit, airy nature, and the hazy flower and seed heads that form late in the season. Tolerates a wide range of soil.
Height: 4' Zones 4-10

Pennisetum
Fountain Grass- Sun/Part Shade

alpecuroides
Probably the most commonly used of the cold hardy fountain grasses. Narrow green leaves form a soft, arching mound. Seed heads are green in summer, becoming golden brown in autumn, resembling large foxtails.
Height: 2-4' Zones 6-9

a. 'Cassian' Fountain Grass
A slightly smaller form of alopecuroides. Grows to a maximum height of 3 feet. Superb fall hues, turning golden with red-orange tints. A great dwarf Pennisetum selection for cooler regions.
Height: 3' Zones 6-9 possibly colder

a. 'Hameln' Compact Fountain Grass
One of the best fountain grasses for mass plantings. Seed heads appear in July and open greenish-white, turning a creamy tan with maturity. Prefers well drained soil.Height: 2-3' Zones 6-9 possibly colder

xa. 'Rubrum' Purple Fountain Grass
Top seller. A rapid grower and prolific bloomer with red-burgandy color throughout both foliage and foxtail like flowers. An annual in New England. Prefers well drained soil.
Height: 3-5' Zones 9-11 

Phalaris
Ribbon Grass- Sun/Part Shade
This old garden cultivar has been grown since the Victorian era. Its foliage is soft and vertical, tending to flop attractively, creating a natural look. Prefers moist areas such as streamside, but will thrive in containers.

arundinacea 'Strawberries & Cream' or 'Feesy'
Pretty in Pink! A blush of color appears on the foliage when exposed to cool temperatures.
Height: 2-3' Zones 4-9

a. 'Picta' Elegantissima var. picta, f.picta, var. variegata
Popular since the Victorian era 'Picta is characterized by creamy-white and green variegation. Its clean, white look makes it an eye-catching addition to a shady spot.Height: 2-3' Zone 4

Schizachyrium
Little bluestem- Sun

s. 'Prarie Blues'
Pewter-blue ribbon like foliage bears silver seed heads in late summer. Orange highlights in autumn.
Height: 3' Zones 3-9

s. 'The Blues'
Prized for its cool hues of blues and purples, this grass fits in both formal and casual gardens.
Height: 2-4' Zones 3-10