How to Take Care of Ornamental Grasses


Caring for ornamental grasses is quite easy once they are established. Ornamental grasses are very hardy. They do well in all types of soil and are rarely bothered by either insect pests or plant diseases. Many varieties are drought-resistant and even those that enjoy moist conditions can withstand long periods of dry soil. Still, there are some things you should do to keep your ornamental grasses looking beautiful and healthy.

Step 1

Cut back the ornamental grasses in early spring, not fall. Leave the plant grass alone during the winter to add interest to your garden. In the spring, cut the grasses back to about 4 or 5 inches.

Step 2

Weed around your grass plant after you cut back the foliage. Take care to remove any weeds that are trying to grow up in the middle of the plant, as they can be very difficult to remove when the foliage is tall.

Step 3

Apply one-quarter cup of fertilizer once in the spring after cutting back and weeding, and water the grass plant thoroughly after application. Choose a slow-release, balanced fertilizer (10-10-10). Make sure you do not choose a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen because this will cause leaf drop.

Step 4

Take care of your larger plants. Divide your larger ornamental grasses in the fall if you notice that the grass is not growing well in the center of the plant. Dig the grass plant up and use your hands to rip apart the root ball into two smaller plants. Then, plant them again at least 2 feet apart. Water thoroughly after planting and cover the base of the plant with mulch and a layer of straw.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant shears or pruning tools
  • Watering tools
  • Balanced, slow-release fertilizer (10-10-10)
  • Shovel


  • University of Illinois: Care and Maintenance of Ornamental Grasses

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State University: Types of Ornamental Grasses
Keywords: ornamental grasses, grass plant, take care

About this Author

April Sanders has been a writer and educator for 11 years. She is a published curriculum writer and has provided academic content for several subscription databases. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social psychology and a Master's degree in information sciences and technology.