Ornamental Grass and Types of Perennial Plants

Ornamental grass and perennials are popular types of garden plants. They give a landscape depth and interest and provide ease of use for the gardener with their ability to come back each year on their own without replanting. The plants are popular choices for filling in gaps among other plants and flowers.

Blue Oat Grass

This perennial ornamental grass is especially popular in rock gardens and as a border plant. This plant forms in clumps of dense, upright foliage that start out blue in the spring, and turn light brown during the summer and golden in the fall. According to the University of Vermont Helictotrichon page, blue oat grass grows best when planted in full sun and well-drained soil. Blue oat grass occasionally gets leaf rust, which occurs in particularly humid areas and appears as orange spots on the foliage. Although this problem is rarely serious, it can make the grass look unsightly. Avoid rust by watering the base of the grass and not the foliage. When the infected plants have become dormant for the season, dig them up and toss them. Blue oat grass is hardy in zones 4 to 7.

Blue Fescue

Blue fescue is a perennial type of ornamental grass, popularly grown for its blue-green foliage, as an accent plant or ground cover. It typically grows in clumps of 6 to 8 inches. This grass flowers in early summer, but the flowers should be pruned to maintain good foliage. According to the North Carolina State University plant fact sheet, blue fescue prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It is a semi-evergreen plant that will die down for the winter, especially if planted in poorly drained soil. Blue fescue is prone to root rot; prevent this by not overwatering. Blue fescue is hardy in zones 4 through 8.

Sedge

This ornamental grass comes in many varieties, including blonde sedge, star sedge, and creeping broad-leafed sedge. Depending on which variety you choose to grow, these plants can grow to be 4 to 24 inches in height, and 6 to 18 inches in width. The fine textured leaves grow to form tufts or cascading fountains. According to the University of Vermont Carex page, some species of sedge are evergreen, and some are variegated with white and gold. Sedge prefers a range of soil types, from wet to dry and in between, depending on the species of the plant. Most species prefer either full sun or partial shade, with a few that grow best in very shady areas. Sedge can be hardy in zones 4 through 10, depending on the species.

Azalea

This perennial plant is sometimes called "the royalty of the garden." This plant grows in a bush-like structure and nearly fills its foliage with blooms. Azalea is available in a range of colors including pink, red, purple, and orange. Azaleas are hardy plants that are easy to grow and maintain. They prefer shady areas and semi-moist soil. Azaleas grow best in the USDA hardiness zones of 4 to 9.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea grows in a variety of colors including pink, purple, and blue. These perennial bushes can grow sizable, round balls of flowers during the summer. They have striking foliage until cold weather. During winter, hydrangeas shed their foliage. Hydrangea plants are hardy in zones 4 to 7.

Keywords: ornamental grass, perennial plants, perennial ornamental grass

About this Author

Kelli Bingham is a freelance writer with nearly a decade of experience in the field. Her works have been published in publications including eHow. She is currently pursuing a degree in business.