You love your flower garden, and you’ve even tried your hand at growing your own vegetables. Now round out your beds or containers by planting these elegant ornamental grasses. They’re amazing accent plants that sway in the breeze and add winter interest when left intact after the growing season ends. There are two types of perennial ornamental grasses: Cool season, which grow when temperatures are cool in the spring, then go dormant in summer’s heat; and warm season, which grow best in warm weather. There are also annual grasses, which need to be replanted every year, although they will sometimes make it through the winter in warm climates. Ornamental grasses range in size from about a foot to five feet tall. Most need full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun), but read the plant tag or description so you know what you’re buying.
When choosing a perennial ornamental grass, make sure it will survive winters in your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here). Then dig a hole about 2 to 3 times the width of the pot, but no deeper. Place the plant in the hole, roughing up the sides of the root ball with your gloved hand if roots are winding around inside the pot. Refill the soil, pat down firmly, and water well. They’re tough plants but water as they’re getting established and during dry spells. Also, trim back perennial grasses in the early spring to keep them from getting too scraggly.
Ahead, our favorite ornamental grasses for your garden:
This steel-blue grass is a more compact variety that looks great planted in groups of three to five plants. Make sure to keep it at the front of mixed borders because it tops out around a foot tall.
2Feather Reed Grass
This warm season grass develops pretty flowers that turn into attractive seed heads by fall. It’s a visually striking plant featured by itself in pots, beds, or paired with other annuals or perennials in containers.4Fiber Optic Grass
This adorable grass has tiny, fluffy flowers on the tips of stems, making it appear like a fiber optic light! It’s about a foot tall and is considered an annual in much of the country but can be brought indoors to enjoy as a houseplant, too.5Fountain Grass