Information About Ornamental Grasses


The term "ornamental grasses" refers to grass-like plants--sedges, rushes and bamboos--as well as true grasses. They grow in a rainbow of colors--bright green, dusty blue, bright red, dark purple, silvery gray and golden yellow.


Ornamental grasses may be upright and stiff, or gracefully arched. Individual grass blades may be spiky, rolled, narrow, wide, smooth or rough. The foliage may be plain, speckled or striped.


Cool-season ornamental grasses begin growing in early spring and may remain semi-evergreen during the winter. Warm-season ornamental grasses begin growing when the temperatures warm in late spring and turn brown during the fall. Clumping grasses grow in tight tufts or neat mounds, while running grasses spread by rhizomes or stolons.


Ornamental grasses grow in all types of conditions and climates. Most grasses need at least five hours of direct sun each day, although a few types grow in shadier areas. They require little or no fertilizer.


Ornamental grasses add texture, movement and sound to gardens. They can be used in dried floral arrangements, and provide food and coverage for wild birds and animals.


Ornamental grasses accent mixed perennial borders or water features. They form attractive screens or background plantings, as well as ground cover.


  • North Carolina State University

Who Can Help

  • Ornamental grasses fact sheet
Keywords: ornamental grass, landscaping with grasses, sedges, rushes

About this Author

Melody Lee began working as a reporter and copywriter for the "Jasper News" in 2004 and was promoted to editor in 2005. She also edits magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 25 years of gardening experience.