Landscaping & Nursery Information for Home Gardeners
Ornamental Grasses
Ornamental grasses were only recently introduced to the American garden. Their dramatic form adds a valuable element to gardens. With the slightest breeze, a garden with grasses comes alive with movement and sound, plus ornamental grass add fall and winter interest to gardens.

Ornamental grasses adapt to most areas and are easy to grow. They thrive in poorer soils where many other garden plants don't, and few pests bother them. They are available in a variety of heights, colors and textures.

Ornamental grasses have become more available in recent years. Among the grasses suitable for moderately moist to moist gardens is feather reed grass. Its upright, wheat-like look and golden-buff winter color make it a four-season garden asset. Fountain grass, an annual, and maiden grass, have been widely used for years. 

Northern sea oats is a short grass that does well in shady areas. Its showy, drooping flowers and bamboo-like foliage make it a great accent plant for the garden.

Ravenna grass, also called plume grass, is a good substitute for the large pampas grass, which is too tender for our area. Giant, Chinese silver grass lends a tropical appearance to large scale landscapes.

To experience some of the beauty of grasses in the garden, visit a local nursery, garden center or botanic garden. With the wide availability of ornamental grasses, a grass suited to any gardening situation can be found.

© Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Green Industries of Colorado, Inc. 1998, 1999.

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