Ornamental grasses are not only a popular type of plant for gardens, but they also provide a more natural feel that can be used to make an impression. The mention of ornamental grass usually brings to mind stalks of blue or purple, perhaps with a little yellow or white mixed in. Ornamental grasses are not just about the color variation, they are also famous for their interesting textures, height, and shapes that other plants can’t provide. The term “ornamental” is used because these grasses often do not produce any useful product like grains or hay.
The best way to use ornamental grass in the garden is to plant them in groups of two or three with other plants. They add height and color to a garden, bringing it to life with movement and texture. There are many ornamental types of grass to choose from for this purpose. Some have thin blades while others have thick leaves. Some grow in clumps while others grow in long strands, providing a more linear effect. It’s important to find the right one for your garden so that it brings your vision to life!
A variety of different types of ornamental grass is available, with different colors and textures. The following are just five of our favorites:
Fountain Grass - Fountain Grass can be a beautiful addition to any garden. It is also known as Pennisetum setaceum; a type of ornamental grass that is often grown in the garden and used in home and office decor. There are 200 different variations of this plant and it comes in a wide range of heights and widths. The leaf colors include green, pink, red, and yellow. Fountain Grasses grow best in areas with low humidity and moderate water levels and their height can range from 2 inches to 4 feet tall depending on how often you cut it. This plant can add lushness to gardens, whether they are large or small. Varieties of fountain grass have been around for centuries and were even used by ancient Romans to decorate their houses with grass-filled urns. They do well in locations that receive more water than others like the mountainsides where rainfall is scarce.
Japanese Forest Grass – Japanese Forest Grass is a popular landscape plant that is grown in many parts of the world. This type of grass has a unique appearance and only grows around 18 inches tall. This is one of the few ornamental types of grass that does well in the shade. The leaves are either green or variegated with thin strips of gold and green and in the fall turn to a pinkish hue. This grass is used in the decoration of gardens, parks, and even in some cases, for roadside landscaping. This grass has been around for hundreds of years and it is believed to be first bred by Zen priests in Japan to create garden landscapes with trees, rocks, mosses, and other foliage plants. It can be used as ground cover or as an accent plant in areas where taller plants are desired.
Maiden Grass - Maiden Grass, also known as Manna Grass, is a type of ornamental grass that has been grown for centuries. This plant can grow up to 10 feet tall and can be planted in areas where it will be used as a windbreak. Maiden grass has great texture and its coppery flower heads in early fall turn to silvery plumes that last from fall to winter. This perennial grass prefers moist soil, full sun, and protection from strong winds. It can be grown in hardiness zones from 5 to 9. Maiden grass prefers to be grown in bright sun, with about 6 hours of direct sunlight, but can also handle some shade.
Pink Muhly Grass – Pink Muhly Grass is native to the Eastern United States and is a perennial broadleaf, ornamental grass. It can be found in rich, moist soil near water sources. This grass grows to approximately 6-8 feet in height. The leaves are light green on top with a darker green underside. The stems are slender and the leaves grow in tufts of 3-4 branches that are typically 20 inches long with 2 inch wide blades of grass. From late summer to fall this grass will add drama to the garden because of the pink seed heads. Later in the season, the seed heads will fade to tan adding interest in the winter and protection for wildlife.
Purple Millet - Purple Millet Ornamental Grass is a type of ornamental grass that likes moisture, sunlight, and cool weather. It prefers soil that is rich in organic matter and has a pH level of 6.5 - 7.5. Soil with these qualities will provide the best environment for this type of grass to grow properly. In order to have the best success rate when growing Purple Millet Ornamental Grass, it is recommended to plant them in groups or patches together so they can help each other out for better growth and stability, especially if there are other types of plants around them as well.
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