Calamagrostis Acutiflora, Feather Reed Grass, Variegated Feather Reed Grass

Common Name: feather reed grass
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 3 to 5 feet
Spread: 1.5 to 2.5 feet
Bloom Time: May - February
Bloom Color: Pinkish-purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

'Karl Foerster' is a hybrid feather reed grass cultivar which is valued for its early bloom, vertical lines and ability to grow in wet soils. It is a slowly-spreading, clump-forming, cool season ornamental grass which features an erect, slightly arching, slender clump of narrow, stiff, rich green leaves growing to 3' tall and 2' wide. Leaves produce little fall color, eventually turning tan in winter. In June, tightly-vertical flower stalks rise well above the foliage to 6' tall bearing narrow plumes of feathery, purplish-green flowers which turn golden as the seeds mature in summer and eventually tan.

'Overdam' or Variegated Feather Reed Grass is a clumping plant similar to 'Karl Foerster', but with striking white variegation. It blooms late fall. Foliage reaches 1-1/2", plumes 5 feet.

Carex Hachijoensis, Sedge Grass

Common Name: sedge
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Grasses
Height: 0.75 to 1 foot
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Color: Brown
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

'Evergold' is a dense, clump-forming sedge rising to 10" tall and to 20" wide which is grown for its foliage effect. Features grass-like, arching, variegated leaves (1/2" wide to 12" long) which are creamy yellow with dark green borders.

'Ice Dance' is a versatile sedge that can be planted in sun or shade. Bright white variegation runs along the edges of half- inch wide leaves.

Thrives in moist soil, but also does well in average garden soil. Soil must not be allowed to dry out, however. Cut back to the ground in late winter. May benefit from a winter mulch.

Chasmanthium Latifolium, Northern Sea Oats

Common Name: northern sea oats
Zone: 3 to 8
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 2 to 5 feet
Spread: 1 to 2.5 feet
Bloom Time: August - September
Bloom Color: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

One of the more shade tolerant of the ornamental grasses, it self-seeds and may spread aggressively. Leaving foliage in place over winter adds interest to the landscape and helps protect crowns from the cold. Cut back to the ground in early spring.
Seed heads will flutter when caressed by even the softest of breezes. Seed heads emerge green but turn purplish bronze by late summer. Bright green leaves (5-9" long) turn a coppery color after frost and eventually brown by winter. Excellent for dried flower arrangements.

Erianthus

See Saccharum

Festuca glauca, Blue Fescue

Common Name: Blue fescue
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 0.75 to 1 foot
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: June - July
Bloom Color: Green with purple tinge
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium

Blue fescue is a low-growing, semi-evergreen, clump-forming ornamental grass noted for its finely-textured blue-gray foliage. Foliage forms a dome-shaped, porcupine-like tuft of erect to arching, needle-like blades radiating upward and outward to a height of 6-8" (inflorescences typically bring total clump height to 10-14"). Light green flowers with a purple tinge appear in terminal panicles atop stems rising above the foliage in late spring to early summer, but inflorescences are not very showy. Flowers give way to buffy seed heads which some gardeners find attractive.

Hakonechloa Macra, Hakone Grass

Common Name: Hakone Grass
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: June - August
Bloom Color: Yellow-green
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

‘Aureola’ is a golden-striped form of Hakone grass. It is a rhizomatous, deciduous perennial grass that typically grows in dense spreading clumps to 15” tall and features gracefully arching green leaves variegated with gold longitudinal striping. Yellow-green flowers appear in loose, nodding panicles in mid-summer.

Imperata Cylindrical, Japanese Blood Grass

Common Name: Japanese Blood grass
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers
Bloom Color: Rarely flowers
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

Japanese bloodgrass is a clump-forming, ornamental grass which features erect, thin blades (1/4" wide) typically growing 12-18" tall. The upper half of each blade turns a garnet red in summer with the red color often deepening toward burgundy as the growing season progresses. Grass remains attractive until late autumn and then goes dormant in winter. Rarely, if ever, flowers.

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best foliage color in full sun. Clumps spread slowly by underground runners. Cut to ground in early spring

Liriope, Lilyturf

Common Name: lily turf
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Grasses
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: August - September
Bloom Color: Lavender
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

The 'Big Blue' cultivar is a tufted, grass-like perennial which typically grows 12-18" high (sometimes to 2') and features a clump of strap-like, arching, glossy, dark green leaves (1" wide). The 'Variegata' is similar growth habit to 'Big Blue' but with creamy white variegation to the leaf edges. Clumps slowly but does not spread aggressively. Erect, showy flower spikes with tiered whorls of dense, lavender flowers rise just above the leaves in late summer. 'Spicata' is also known as creeping lilyturf. Its slender green leaves spread which makes it good for preventing soil erosion. All varieties have flowers that give way in fall to blackish berries which often persist into winter.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, fertile soils in part shade. Tolerates wide range of light conditions and soils. Also tolerates heat, humidity and drought. Mow in early spring to remove old foliage.

Miscanthus Sinensis, Maiden Grass, Variegated Maiden Grass, Flame Grass, Porcupine Grass, Variegated Miscanthus, Dwarf Maiden Grass

Common Name: Maiden Grass
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 4 to 7 feet
Spread: 3 to 6 feet
Bloom Time: August - February
Bloom Color: Copper maturing to silver
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

Miscanthus 'Gracillimus' is noted for its narrow green leaves with a silver midrib which form a substantial, rounded, arching clump of foliage typically growing 4-6' tall (to 8' when in flower). Foliage turns yellowish after frost, but quickly fades to straw-beige by winter. Tiny reddish-copper flowers appear in tassel-like inflorescences above the foliage in late September, gradually turning into silvery white plumes as the seeds mature. Blooms later than most Miscanthus cultivars. Miscanthus 'Purpurascens' is an erect clumping grass that has reddish-purple leaf tips. In early fall, the magenta blooms turn white and the foiliage turns vivid reddish orange. Miscanthus 'Strictus' is best known for the unusual horizontal yellow bands on its foliage, erect growth habit and upright foliage. Reddish fan-shaped seed heads appear in September. Miscanthus 'Variegatus' has rich white stripes that run the length of the leaf. Red blooms emerge in September. Miscanthus 'Yaku Jima' will grow three feet tall and holds it flowers tight in the foliage. Miscanthus flower plumes persist well into winter providing good winter interest.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils from well-drained sandy soils to the heavy clays. Prefers moist soils. Best in full sun. Less vigorous with decreased flowering and tendency to flop in too much shade. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. Clumps slowly expand in circumference by short rhizomes, but retain tight clump shape. Foliage should be left standing throughout the winter for visual interest and to provide protection for the crowns. Substantial clumps tend to flop (or totally collapse when subjected to heavy winter snows), and will often benefit from some support. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter just before new shoots appear.

Panicum Virgatum, Blue Switch Grass, Red Switch Grass

Common Name: Switch Grass
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 4 to 5 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: July - February
Bloom Color: Pink-tinged
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

Panicum 'Heavy Metal' is well-known and used widely for its blue foliage and extreme erect habit. This plant looks great as a specimen or in masses.

Panicum 'Rotstrahlbusch' is a red switchgrass that grows to about two feet and has wonderful fall color. Panicum 'Shenandoah' is a spectacular switchgrass! Its red tipped foliage is nice during the growing season and becomes dazzling in the fall.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils, including dry ones, but prefers moist, sandy or clay soils. Tends to flop in rich soils. Generally best in full sun. Will grow in part shade, but begins to lose its columnar form in too much shade, growing more openly and possibly falling over. Grows primarily in clumps, but may infrequently spread by rhizomes. Cut back clumps to the ground in late winter to early spring.

Pennisetum Alopecuroides, Fountain Grass, Dwarf Fountain Grass, Miniature Fountain Grass, Purple Fountain Grass

Common Name: Fountain Grass
Zone: 6 to 9
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 2.5 to 5 feet
Spread: 2.5 to 5 feet
Bloom Time: July - February
Bloom Color: Silvery to pinkish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

Pennisetum alopecuroides has a clumping, tuft-forming habit. Rose-colored bottlebrush plumes appear in midsummer and turn almond color in late fall. Pennisetum 'Hameln' has the same look as alopecuroides but only grows to two feet with plumes. Pennisetum 'Little Bunny' is a clumping grass with one-inch plumes and ten-inch green foliage. Looks great in rock gardens or as a groundcover. Pennisetum 'Rubrum' has striking deep purple foiliage all summer and purple plumes appear in early fall. This plant is an outstanding container plant due to its bold color; however it is considered an annual in our area.

Fountain grass is a warm season ornamental grass which typically grows in graceful, spreading clumps from 2-3' tall and as wide. Features narrow, medium to deep green leaves (to 1/2" wide) in summer, changing to golden yellow in fall and fading to beige in late fall. Foliage usually remains attractive throughout the winter. Showy, silvery to pinkish-white, bristly, bottle brush-like flower spikes arch outward from the clump in late summer like water spraying from a fountain (hence the common name). Flower spikes turn brownish as the seeds form, and spikes usually persist until late fall or early winter before shattering. Many excellent fountain grass cultivars are available in commerce, ranging in height from 1-5' and featuring a variety of different flower colors (purples, pinks or whites) and autumn foliage.

Saccharum Ravennae, Plume Grass

Common Name: Plume Grass
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 6 to 12 feet
Spread: 4 to 6 feet
Bloom Time: September - October
Bloom Color: Purplish-bronze
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium

Ravenna grass (sometimes also called Plume Grass) is a very tall, erect, ornamental grass which forms clumps which typically grow 9-12' tall and 4-6' wide. Similar in appearance to the less hardy Pampas grass. Plumes or inflorescences (to 24" long) appear in late summer on stiff, leafed stalks well above the foliage. Plumes bloom purplish-bronze turning to silver-gray in fall and persist well into winter. Narrow, 1 inch wide, gray-green leaf blades (to 30" long) have a single white stripe down the middle. Rustling sound of the foliage when caressed by breezes can be quite calming. Foliage turns an attractive bronze in fall.

Schizachyrium Scoparium, Little Blue Stem

Common Name: little bluestem
Zone: 3 to 9
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 2 to 4 feet
Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: August - February
Bloom Color: Purplish bronze
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

Little Blue Stem is one of the dominant grasses which grow in the rich and fertile soils of the tallgrass prairie. It is a warm season, ornamental grass which typically grows 2-4' tall (less frequently to 5') and occurs in prairies, open woods, clearings, glades, roadsides and waste areas. Forms upright clumps of slender green leaves (1/4" wide) with a tinge of blue at the base. Purplish-bronze flowers appear in 3" long racemes on branched stems rising above the foliage in August. Resulting clusters of fluffy, silvery-white seed heads are attractive and may persist into winter. Most outstanding feature of this grass may be the bronze-orange fall foliage color.

Sporobolus Heterolepis, Prairie Dropseed

Common Name: prairie dropseed
Zone:3 to 9
Plant Type: Ornamental grass
Height: 2 to 3 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: August - October
Bloom Color: Pink and brown-tinted
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

Prairie Dropseed is a clump-forming, warm season, perennial grass which occurs in prairies, glades, open ground and along railroads. Fine-textured, hair-like, medium green leaves (to 20" long and 1/16" wide) typically form an arching foliage mound to 15" tall and 18" wide. Foliage turns golden with orange hues in fall, fading to light bronze in winter. Open, branching flower panicles appear on slender stems which rise well above the foliage clump in late summer to 30-36" tall. Flowers have pink and brown tints, but are perhaps most noted for their unique fragrance (hints of coriander). Tiny rounded mature seeds drop to the ground from their hulls in autumn giving rise to the descriptive common name.