Sunny California is a grower's paradise, boasting a huge number of native plant species that thrive throughout its wildernesses. California is home to a number of grass plants well suited to the state's climate that can be cultivated in similar climates throughout the world.
Native to California, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) is a clumping ornamental perennial grass that produces dense clusters of long thin silvery-green blades. The grass is commonly grazed on by deer, horses and cattle. Deer grass is extremely drought-tolerant, preferring very well-drained, even poor or sandy, soils. For the best possible appearance, deer grass should be grown in full sunlight. The plant can reach heights of up to 3 feet.
Purple needlegrass (Nassella pulchra) is a native California grass that can be seen growing throughout the state. The deep-rooted perennial grass, which has roots extending up to 20 feet below the ground, has a long life span: 200 years or more. The plant grows in clumps, and is green for all but the hottest parts of the year. The long, thin blades of the plant are what give it its name. Purple needlegrass grows best in well-drained soils (though it will tolerate clay) in sunny locations.
Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) is a clumping tropical grass heavily naturalized throughout southern California. The plant has long, flat blades that are a dull green shade. The oil of the grass is commonly used for mosquito repellent, and the grass produces an aromatic fragrance that can be smelled in the garden. Citronella grass does best in full sunlight in well-drained soils. Citronella grass is often used near walkways, where its scent and appearance can be admired.