Ornamental grasses are versatile plants that blend well with existing shrubs and trees, and look good standing alone as a focal point. Tall ornamental grasses include varieties that extend above 5 feet. The height increases further in grasses that produce plumed flowers.
Each type of ornamental grass differs in its cultural requirements. They all prefer the same organically rich soil that homeowners provide for other landscape plants. A soil test performed by a garden center will determine the quality of existing garden soil. Adjusting soil quality to meet the needs of the type of ornamental grass increases the chance of a successful life span.
Tall ornamental grasses such as pink pampas can reach up to 12 feet in height. This type features plume flowers that add height. Tall grasses grow in a clumping form from the center, with blades extending outward in an arch. Blade width and color vary, although all tall ornamental grasses feature the trademark ribbon leaves. Taller grasses don't spread as readily as low-growing varieties, but perennial clumps will expand yearly and eventually require division.
Tall ornamental grass flowers differ greatly from annual or perennial flowers. Flowers take a simpler form as wispy, featherlike plumes. Maiden grass grows to a height of 5 feet and produces silver multispiked flowers. Other varieties produce a single spiked flower or a raceme that features a single stalk with spokes jutting out.
Ornamental grasses require minimal care during the first few years after planting. Tall grasses may need to be tied up with gardening twine to limit bending as the plant reaches full blade growth near the end of the summer. Banding helps keep the grass in a uniform position and allows beneficial attributes of foliage through the winter months. Dead areas form in the center of grass clumps after three to four years of growth. At this point, digging up the entire clump of grass and dividing the grass benefits the plant for increased use in other parts of the landscape. Prune tall grasses in early spring before new growth appears so you don't have to lop off the tips.
Tall ornamental grasses require careful placement in the landscape since they can hide other plants and structures. Keep in mind the mature size of the plant when you're planting and planning your garden.