Ornamental Grasses - Quick Chart

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Ornamental Grasses - Quick Chart


Here is a quick chart of some favorite ornamental grasses to grow. There are some links for more information at the bottom of this page.

A nursery that has a display garden lets you see how plants mature and change through the season. This is especially important with grasses because they often appear bedraggled in containers, and don't reflect the striking beauty they develop once planted. Grasses are typically sold in 1, 2 and 5 gallon containers - ranging in price from $10 to $15 for one in a 2 gallon container.



Variety Height Shape Bloom Time Characteristics Growing Conditions Hardiness
Arundo - Striped Gaint Reed 'donax variegatus' 8'x10' Upright August-Sept. Strong variegation, large specimen Full sun/wet or dry Z6
Calamagrostis - Feather Reed Grass aruncinacea ‘Karl Forester’ 4' Narrow June-Sept. stiff upright and early blooming Sunny, dry locations but tolerates heavy clay soil Z4-9
Chasmanthium - Northern Seas Oats latifolium 3’ Spreading Late Summer colonize in part shade with arching branches Sun to shade wet or dry Z5-9
Cortaderia - Pampas Grass sellonana ‘Pumila’ 4-6’ Compact / Densely tufted mid summer for smaller grasses but just as dramatic sun and dry soil Z6 (with protection) - 10
Deschampsia - Tufted Hair Grass cespitosa 2’ Compact / Rounded Summer/Long Blooming delicate, airy and attractive Cool season, sunny and moist to average soil Z4-9
Erianthus - Plume Grass ravennae 9-12’ Specimen Late Summer silver-bronze inflorescence - hardy pampas like grass Sun with dry conditions Z6-9
Festuca - Fescue glauca ‘Elija Blue’ 8-10” Compact Mid-Summer very popular blue grass Cool season, morning sun, well drained soil Z4-8
Hakonechloa -Golden Variegated Hakone Grass macra ‘Aureola’ 12-18” Clumping and Arching Summer brilliant golden foliage streaked green for the shade Part shade to shade, average to moist soil Z6-9
Helictotrichon - Blue Oat Grass sempervirens ‘Sapphire’ 2’ Robust Clump Early Summer best blue color with broader foliage Fertile, well drained soil in sun Z4-8
Imperata - Japanese Blood Grass ‘Red Baron’ 18” Slow Spreader None nice red coloration for part shade to full sun Moist, fertile, sunny location Z6-9
Koleria - Blue Hair Grass
12-18” Clumping Early Summer blue-gray foliage with airy felling   Z6-9
Miscanthus - Maiden Grass purpurascens 4-5’ Spreading Clump Mid-Summer reddish foliage turns deeper in autumn Sun, well drained average soil Z6-9
sinensis ‘Adagio’ 4’ Wide Clump Late Summer thin silver foliage with large pink blooms turning to white Sun, well drained average soil Z6-9
sinensis ‘Dixieland’  3-4’ Dwarf Clump Late Summer M. variegatus in miniature, wide green leaves with white stripes Sun, well drained average soil Z6-9
sinensis 'Cabaret' 6’ Upright Late Summer an improved green and white variegated form with wider blades and stiffer habit Sun, well drained average soil Z5-9
sinensis ‘Gracillimus' 6-8’ Tall - Upright Vase Mid Autumn narrow leaves with blooms of bronze-red holding up well into winter Sun, well drained average soil Z5-9
sinensis ‘Morning Light’ 4-5’ Tall Clump Early Autumn fine silver and green foliage for a delicate look and red to bronze inflorescence Sun, well drained average soil Z5-9
sinensis ‘Sarabande’ 5-6’ Tall Clump Early Autumn fine silvery foliage with showy golden-copper plumes Sun, well drained average soil Z4-9
sinensis ‘Silberfeder’ 6-8’ Tall and Open Late Summer Variegated, broad green leaves with white margins Sun, well drained average soil Z5-9
 sinensis ‘Strictus’ 5-6’ Upright and Wide Late Summer wide green blades with horizontal golden stripes Sun, well drained average soil Z6-9
sinensis ‘Variegatus’ 5-7’ Upright Early Autumn Broad leaves with white margins Sun, well drained average soil Z5-9
sinensis ‘Yaku Jima’ 4’ Broad Late Summer Silver plumes and reddish-brown fall color Sun, well drained average soil Z6-9
sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ 6-8’ Tall Mid Autumn reddish blooms with light green foliage and horizontal yellow bands Sun, well drained average soil Z6-9
Molinia - Moor Grass caerulea ‘Variegata’ 12-18” Clump Late Summer graceful plumes smoother finely variegated foliage Sun, well drained average to poor soil Z4-8
litorialis ‘Skyracer’ 7-8’ Clump-Airy Panicles Late Summer tall stems carry “see through” seed heads above cascading clump of foliage Sun, well drained average to poor soil Z5-8
Panicum - Switch Grass virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’ 6-7’ Upright-Narrow Mid-Summer blue foliated with tall shoots of airy golden flowers Sun, drought tolerant, average to poor soil Z5-9
virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ 4-5’ Upright-Narrow Mid-Summer steel blue foliage and a very stiff habit Sun, drought tolerant, average to poor soil Z5-9
virgatum ‘Shenadoah’ 3’ Upright-Shorter Mid-Summer showy bright red foliage and slower growing Sun, drought tolerant, average to poor soil Z5-6
Pennisetum - Fountain Grass alopecuroides 3-4’ Arching Clump Mid-Summer showy, soft inflorescence carried above delicate foliage for a long bloom period Sun, well drained to dry soil Z5-9
alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ 1.5-2.5’ Arching Clump Mid-Summer dwarf version of above Sun, well drained to dry soil Z6-9
alopecuroides ‘Moudry’ 2-3’ Cascading Clump Autumn black plumes are stiffer and blades are wider Sun, well drained to moister soil Z6-9
orientale ‘Karley Rose’ 3’ Upright-Clump Summer very soft plumes are smokey rose in color all season long Sun, well drained to dry soil Z6-9
setaceum ‘Rubrum’ 3-4’ Upright - Flowing Summer purple leaved with rich tan blooms on a prolific annual bloomer Sun, well drained soil, feed regularly in a container Z9-10
setaceum ‘Eaton Canyon’ 2’ Compact - Flowing Summer 1/4” blades with reddish-purple plumes - half the size of P. ‘Rubrum’ Sun, well drained soil in small gardens Z9-10
Schizachyrium (Andropogon) - Little Bluestem scoparius ‘The Blues’ 2-3’ Upright Clump Late Summer blue foliage with hints of burgundy and pink in spring and fall Sunny, dry locations Z3-9
Sorghastrum - Indian Grass nutans ‘Sioux Blue’ 4-6’ Stiff Upright Mid-Summer bright blue foliage and attractive seed heads Sun to part shade, drought tolerant Z4-9
Stipa - Feather Grass tenuissima 2’ Vase Shaped Clump Early Summer very silky blades and flower heads Sunny, dry location Z6 (with protection)-9

Helpful Links

http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/4DMG/Lawns/orna.htm (10 pages of pics and descriptions)

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07232.html (table for growing conditions)

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