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Ornamental grasses for autumn landscapes
Beth Hyatt | September 11, 2017

When it comes to decorating for autumn, plants, shrubs and flowers aren’t the only options for a fall landscape.

There are a number of fall ornamental grasses that can help make a yard, garden, container or driveway pop without having to worry about longevity. Some may even last well into the summer, so customers will be able to enjoy them for many months to come.

Take a look at six sturdy types of ornamental grasses your customers are sure to enjoy this season.

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overdam feather reed grass

Photo: Monrovia

Overdam Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Overdam’)

These tall, red-brown, feathery summer plumes turn gold in the fall. It is sterile, which means it won’t produce unwanted seedlings. It can grow up to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, and its flower stalks can grow up to 6 feet tall.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Full sun

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Heavy Metal Blue Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’)

heavy metal blue switch grass

Photo: Monrovia

This grass is a carefree native that’s perfect for a wild garden or meadow. Along with brilliant foliage, this grass is distinguished by metallic-blue blades that are topped by pink-tinted panicles. It serves as a great food source for birds in the winter, and it can grow up to 3 feet tall and wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Full sun to partial sun 

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Pheasant’s Tail Grass (Anemanthele lessoniana)

Pheasant’s Tail Grass

Photo: rhsplants.co.uk

Also known as New Zealand Wind Grass, this ornamental grass is evergreen with a fountain-like growth habit. The thread-like leaves turn copper, gold and bronze in the fall adding color to the landscape. It can be used in borders, container gardens or prairie plantings. It can tolerate heavy clay soils and is drought and deer tolerant. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8-10
  • Full sun to partial sun

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Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ Plant Patent #22,048)

Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass

Photo: Monrovia

Growing up to 3 feet tall and wide, this grass is both glamorous and rugged. This native North American grass showcases blue-green foliage with flag-like summer-into-fall flowers on stiff stems. These stems are also said to be weather-resistant.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Full sun to partial sun

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Blue Heaven Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium ‘MinnblueA’ Plant Patent #17,310)

Blue Heaven Little Bluestem

Photo: Monrovia

This grass offers narrow, upright foliage that adds a great vertical accent in borders, rock gardens or containers. While it may emerge blue, it will develop burgundy and pink hues in late summer, and it will turn a rich copper in the fall. Its slender stems will also emerge with purplish panicles, and tan seed heads will continue into fall. It can reach 3 to 4 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-10
  • Full sun

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Regal Mist Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Lenca’)

Regal Mist Pink Muhly Grass

Photo: Monrovia

This ornamental grass is relatively small and features airy deep pink flowers that bloom from late summer to fall. When planted in masses it effectively softens a landscape and blurs edges while shimmering in the wind. It can be mixed into the landscape or set apart in containers. It grows 4 feet tall and wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-9
  • Partial to full sun

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