Planting Ornamental Grasses

Q: I think I'm zone 5/6. I would like to plant ornamental grasses near my deck. It's partial sun. Morning and then afternoon. I was told it needs full sun. Any help? Any ideas also where I can get it in smaller pots so it's not so costly?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

Valery from NJ

A: Valery,

Many ornamental grasses grow best in full sun, but there are still options hardy to zone 5 that tolerate partial shade. Keep in mind that most grasses need a minimum of 3 to 5 hours of direct sun per day to flower and present their best color. It really depends on whether you're looking for something that gets off to an early start(cool season grasses), or something that blooms later in the summer (warm season grasses). Also consider height, color and annual or perennial. Here are a few to check into:

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Blue Fescue has a gorgeous silvery-blue color (and other colors depending on variety) and grows about 12-18 inches tall and keeps its color through fall.

Feather Reed Grass (Karl Forester) grows from 3-5 feet tall. This grass adds a very architectural element to the garden with vertical green stalks and white to reddish white flowers.

Little Bluestem is a silvery-green color in the summer and turns an orange/red in the fall. It grows to a height of 2-4 feet.

The seed heads of Quaking Grass sound like the tail of a rattle snake when dry and are a great addition to fresh and dried arrangements. It grows to about 12-18 inches tall.

Also consider Idaho Fescue (Siskiyou Blue), Blue Oat Grass, June Grass, Prarie Dropseed and Silky threadgrass.

Many ornamental grasses can be grown successfully from seed (especially annuals), which is always cheaper than buying them in pots. I would start with posting on the Thriftyfun.com seed exchange and then search Ornamental Grass Seed online.

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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March 31, 20060 found this helpful

Hi, I live in zone 7 and have ornamental grasses and they have thrived in the shade. ginny

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April 2, 20060 found this helpful

I live in zone 5 and my ornamental grass is located in the shade. Grows nicely with no problems. Have you tried (or interested in) using seeds from the nursery/store?

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