Ornamental grasses are low maintenance plants that add year-round interest to your garden. They have foliage in shades of green, gray, blue and gold, as well as combinations of these colors. In the fall and winter the plumes of seeds stand tall above the grass, attracting the interest of guests and wildlife. Some ornamental grasses grow in tight tufts or clumps while others spread via underground runners. They range in size from 1 1/2 feet to more than 8 feet tall. Most ornamental grasses are not evergreen and turn tan, brown or bronze in the winter.
Decide where you want to plant an ornamental grass plant. Consider the amount of sun and irrigation the area receives and the type of soil (sand, silt or clay). Determine how tall and wide you want the plant to be when it is mature.
Choose an appropriate ornamental grass plant based on these criteria and your area's hardiness zone. See Resources for some information on varieties of ornamental grasses or consult your local county extension service.
Buy an ornamental grass plant from a reputable local or online nursery. Look for a plant with healthy foliage that is not root-bound. Do not buy a plant that appears to be heat stressed, damaged by insects or diseased.
Water the plant thoroughly in its pot and leave it in a shaded area while you prepare the planting hole.
Use a shovel to dig a hole the same depth as the plant's root-ball and twice as big around as its container.
Remove the plant from the pot and set it in the planting hole. Be sure the plant is not set any deeper in the ground than it was in the pot.
Backfill the soil around the plant, tamping it down gently to hold the plant firmly in place. Spread any leftover soil around the plant but do not mound the soil up against the base of the plant.
Spread mulch around the plant and water well.