Benefits of using ornamental grasses

Updated Aug 5, 2023

Monrovia is encouraging landscapers to not forget about ornamental grasses for the fall season.

“They are low maintenance, great for hedges and privacy plantings, and do well in containers,” the company says.

Grasses attract birds for seeds and nesting and can also deter deer from browsing.

Some examples:

img_plant_1The low-growing varieties, like sedge, can create an attractive edging in a perennial border or tucked into a rock garden. Bowles Golden Sedge has striking yellow foliage. Sparkler has green and white foliage and an interesting shape – similar to mini palm trees. Fox Red Curly Sedge has clumps of red-bronze foliage that fades to flax at the tips, and Frosty Curls has silvery-green, very narrow, recurving leaf blades with hair-like curls.


img_plant_2Taller grasses can make hedges or privacy plantings. Morning Light Maiden Grass will reach six feet tall, and its green and creamy-white blades create a shimmering silvery look. Porcupine Grass has an upright habit and green blades with horizontal yellow striping. Adagio Maiden Grass has silvery-green arching foliage that turns orange, gold, and burgundy in the fall. In late summer through winter, it is covered in plumes of bronzy pink that fade to white.


img_plant_3Feather Reed Grasses add a vertical element to the garden. Their strong, colorful stalks work well in cut flower arrangements. Overdam’s feathery blooms emerge reddish-brown in summer and turn golden in fall. Its seeds attract flocks of birds, but the seeds are sterile and won’t set unwanted seedlings. Foerster’s, which was named the 2001 Perennial Plant of the Year, blooms earlier and longer than most varieties, emerging reddish-brown in spring and turning golden in the fall. Korean has feathery pink flower plumes.


img_plant_4Native grasses are popular for eco-friendly garden designs, like the colorful foliage of Switch Grass. Their seed heads provide food for birds. They are hardy to Zone 4 – 9. Rigid metallic-blue blades give Heavy Metal Blue its name, and then the foliage turns bright yellow in the fall. Shenandoah has red-tipped green foliage that darkens through summer, turning burgundy in fall. The Blues Little Bluestem has blue-green foliage turns flaming orange in the fall.


img_plant_5Japanese Forest Grass, named Perennial Plant of the Year in 2009, has a clumping shape, and its feathery foliage has a bamboo-like appearance, making it ideal to incorporate into a Zen garden. Try the vibrant All Gold – its yellow-gold color will brighten a shady spot. Fubuki, which means snowstorm in Japanese, has snow-white and green variegated foliage that gets pink and rose tones in the fall.

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