Ornamental grasses are useful landscape plants. Grasses are very adaptable and are able to grow in poor soils. Ornamental grasses also require little care. The colors and textures can vary wildly. Grasses, once used up, may be dried and used indoors for further decorative purposes. Ornamental grasses include true grasses as well as sedges, rushes and hardy bamboos.
The characteristics of the ornamental grass require consideration before choosing. Ornamental grasses are both annual and perennial; annuals last only one year, while perennials persist for several. Grasses are either winter-hardy or not, meaning that if you want year-round decoration, winter-hardy varieties are best. Winter appearance, says the University of Florida, depends on the winter hardiness. Ornamental grasses are either warm season or cool season, and each variety is chosen according to the gardeners needs.
Cool Season Grass
Cool season grass begins growing in late winter or early spring, according to the University of Tennessee. Some plants begin to wilt away once temperatures begin to raise. Some cultivars will begin growing again as soon as temperatures drop in August. Cool season grasses can be moved and split as long as the heat is low.
Warm Season Grass
Warm season grasses remain dormant until late spring, when they suddenly spring to life. These grasses will grow quickly during the summer before flowering in mid- to late summer, when they release seed. Warms season grasses are transplanted and divided in the late summer.
Grasses are able to be moved throughout the garden, so changes in design are possible throughout the year. Consider the colors and location in the sun. Throughout the year, consider moving the plants around until the colors are coordinated according to your needs. Ornamental grasses also add sound to the garden. As wind blows through, some grasses make sound. Place grasses in areas of relaxation. Place grasses according to their height as well.
Ornamental grasses do not require a lot of care. Grasses, says Colorado State University, grow well in 3 to 5 hours of sunlight. Grasses will grow in shade, but may not flower. Pests rarely attack ornamental grasses, but aphids and mites may be a problem if left to multiply. Spray ornamental grasses with a strong blast of water to remove these pests.