If you’re looking for low maintenance plants that provide lovely texture and movement in your garden, ornamental grasses are your answer! They look fantastic when massed in the border or as a single accent when planted in a container. Leaves often change colour as the seasons progress, and their delicate plumes and tassels (called inflorescences) add graceful structure, and even sound, as they rustle in the breeze.
Plant ornamental grasses with perennials such as rudbeckia, echinacea, and asters, to name a few. Smaller varieties are great for edging and as groundcovers. Taller grasses provide a soft backdrop when planted at the back of your border. They provide a textural contrast when planted with evergreens.
Types of Grasses
There are hundreds of varieties of ornamental grasses available - some are shade tolerant while others prefer full sun. Grasses and grass-like plants are divided into cool season and warm season varieties. Many grasses are perennials, but some are tender and they’re treated as annuals.
Cool season grasses actively grow during the cool parts of the year, and may remain semi-evergreen during the winter, making them ideal for fall planters and early spring gardens. For semi-evergreen grasses, simply cut any brown or winter injured foliage in the spring.
Warm season grasses thrive during the warm summer months, and go dormant and turn brown when the weather cools down. Their dried, tanned foliage and seed heads provide interest in the winter, and food for the birds! Simply cut them back in late winter to spring, and they will grow back when the weather warms up.
Add a touch of colour, movement, and texture to your fall garden with these ornamental grasses that we’ve hand picked for you. Give them a try this season!
A Few of Our Favourites
Dwarf Fountain Grass
Pennisetum alopercuroides ‘Hameln’
This compact warm season perennial grass is ideal for smaller areas. A fountaining clump of dark green foliage turns a lovely amber in fall. Its silvery to pinkish-white flowers are soft and delicate, bringing a fine texture to the garden. Plant in full sun
A beautiful clump forming grass with fine-textured, silver-green blades, turning golden-bronze in winter. This spectacular grass has purple-flushed plumes in late summer, changing to a delicate silver, providing beautiful winter interest in your garden. Plant in full sun; grows to approx.. 6-8 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide.
Blood Brothers Red Switch Grass
Panicum virgatum ‘Blood Brothers’
This outstanding warm season perennial grass forms an upright, vase-shaped clump of blue-green leaves that turn a deep blood-red by midsummer that gets getter through the autumn. Fine, airy reddish flowers mature to tan seed heads in the fall, and remains sturdy and attractive well into the winter. Plant in full sun; grows to approx. 47-59in tall and 31-35in wide.
Ice Dance Japanese Sedge
Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’
A lovely sedge with attractive mounds of evergreen foliage with arching leaves margined with creamy white. It is a moderately spreading grass, ideally suited to the woodland garden, and useful for brightening dark garden areas. Plant in part shade to shade; grows to approx. 1’ tall and slowly spreads by rhizomes to form a carpet.
Little Red Gem Switch Grass
Panicum virgatum ‘Little Red Gem’
This warm season perennial grass forms a compact clump upright blue-green foliage, turning a striking wine-red by late summer. Tiny wine-red flowers rise just above the foliage, providing a wonderful winter interest. Plant in full; grows to approx. 30” tall and 18” wide.
Prairie Fire Sedge
Carex testacea ‘Indian Summer’
This striking cool season evergreen perennial is a clump-forming grass that provides year-round interest. Its gracefully arching, fine-textured leaves have bright undertones of bronzy-orange and green with subtle flowers the same colour as the foliage, turning into dark brown seedheads. Plant in full sun to part shade; grows to approx. 18-24” tall and wide.
Mexican Feather Grass
Stipa (syn Nasella tenuissima)
This lovely fine-textured cool season grass has delicate, graceful silvery-green leaves and airy flower heads that sway gently even in light breezes. Adds a beautiful soft texture to your garden, and looks stunning in mass plantings. Plant in full sun; grows to approx.. 20-24” tall and wide.
Graziella Japanese Silver Grass
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Graziella’
This refined warm season perennial grass forms a graceful, upright mound of narrow, arching, green leaves that turn a spectacular copper-red in fall. Its soft, silvery-white plumes appear in late summer and dry to a fluffy white rise on reed-like stems above the foliage, offering great winter interest. Plant in full sun; grows to 70-82” tall and 31-35” wide.
These are just a few of the many great ornamental grasses available at Art's Nursery. Visit us today to check them out! Our selection is always changing so call ahead, 604.882.1201, if you are looking for a specific variety.