No matter your gardening style--formal, informal or somewhere in between--there's an ornamental grass that can become a highlight or special feature of your outdoor space. Like ordinary grasses, there are ornamentals that can be grown as either a cool season or warm season grass. Grow it for height; grow it for texture; there's an ornamental grass to fill any gardening void.
Ornamental Grasses for Shady Areas
Similar in appearance to a hosta, the banana boat serves as a great groundcover or as a planting for a border. The Appalachian sedge is a wonderful ornamental or could truly replace traditional lawn plantings. The ornamental produces discrete flowers and drooping foliage. Even though it will take some time to grow, Hakone grass, a Japanese specimen, produces lush green blades that turn reddish in the fall.
Ornamental Grasses for Moist Climates
Good choices for gardens that have semi-moist soils are maiden grasses, Japanese silver grasses and feather reed grass. Feather reed grass has a wheat-like appearance and is among the showiest of ornamental grasses. Maiden grasses are available in several varieties, some, like the Miscanthus species, grows well into the winter.
Special Uses for Ornamental Grasses
Ornamentals are ideal for adding a little drama to your garden space. Fox Trot is one of the tallest fountain ornamental grasses, reaching 4-5 feet, and its graceful plumes naturally introduce movement. Ornamental grasses also add interest to a winter landscape when little else is in bloom. Red Head, whose foliage turns yellow in the fall, is a great option for late-season containers.