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Growing Ornamental Grasses

Life Cycle:


Planting Time:

spring or summer


height varies from compact mounds to tall screens to spreading mats


full sun to partial shade


all types; most grasses are adaptable to soggy, dry or nutrient poor sites where other plants will not grow


depends on variety

Bloom Time:

depends on grass type


a wide variety of colorful flower spikes including maroon, red, pink, silver, white, yellow or beige.


various textures and colors including greens, blues, reds, whites, yellows and variegated blades; seed heads range from inconspicuous to dramatic feathery plumes




Suggested Use:

fillers, screens, borders, backdrops, ground covers, winter interest, container plants, ornamental accents and dried arrangements

Growing Hints:

Growing requirements vary by grass type. Care should be taken to provide adequate space for growth, without allowing grasses to take over your garden. Grasses should be spaced as far apart from other plants as they are tall. Set plants into prepared holes so that root balls rest just below the surface. Holes should be twice as deep as the root ball. Add compost before filling. Grass should receive 1 inch of water per week throughout the first season. Add mulch around base in the fall to protect roots and shoots from freezing over winter and to provide new nutrients for next season's growth. Fertilize in the spring with a slow release 3-1-2 fertilizer. Common oriental grasses include: Pampas, Purple Fountain Grass, Blue Fescue, Maiden Grass and Zebra Grass.

Pruning Oriental Grasses:

Grasses experiencing winter dieback can be cut back to within a few inches of the ground in early spring before new growth begins. Evergreen grasses generally do not need trimming or pruning.


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