Ornamental grasses have various uses in the garden, including ground cover, color and texture. This wide collection of grass varies wildly in size and shape. Ornamental grasses are often quite vigorous, needing little care to grow in the garden. Planting ornamental grass requires some forward planning before placing it in a bed.
Well-drained loam soil with a high organic content is the best soil condition for ornamental grasses, although most will survive in a variety of soil types, according to the University of Missouri Extension. Ornamental grasses are best planted in beds that also receive full sunlight for around six to eight hours a day.
Apply fertilizer when the ornamental grass is planted to encourage growth. One to two pounds of general purpose fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 per 100 square feet will boost growth. Ornamental grass does not feed heavily and will need little in the future. One application of one-half to one pound of general purpose fertilizer per 100 square feet per season is enough.
Cool-season ornamental grass begins growing in the early spring, according to the University of Illinois, and often stays green to evergreen during the winter, depending on the variety. They have better foliage color and appearance during the winter months than warm-season grasses. Cool-season grasses require division of the roots regularly to stay healthy, according to the University of Illinois.
Warm-season grasses perform better during the spring and summer, when temperatures are at their peak and water is limited. Warm-season ornamental grasses begin growing when temperatures are stable and the soil is warm. Planting warm-season and cool-season grasses in conjunction with each other will keep the garden bed green year-round.
Plant ornamental grass away from the house if the grass variety dries during the winter months, as dried foliage is highly combustible and may catch fire. Rhizome-forming ornamental grasses whose roots spread make good ground cover, but may take over sidewalks or other structures if left to grow wild. Plant them with consideration.