Fescue Types

The fescue genus belongs to the poaceae plant family and contains various types of grasses. A majority of fescue species are perennial tufted grasses used in pastures and lawns. Fescue grasses typically perform best in areas with cooler climates. Various types of fescue grow well in the Untied States.

Tufted Fescue

Tufted fescue (Festuca amethystine) features little tufts of erect, pointed blades. These blades reach up to 18 inches in height and form clumps ranging from 9 to 12 inches wide. This ornamental grass generally does well in hardiness zones 4 to 8. The foliage emerges blue-green but turns olive green shades with maturity. The blades sometimes take on bronze tones during very hot weather. Tiny, pale green flowers with purple tints appear in June and July. Tufted fescue prefers moist soils in full sun. This grass tolerates poor soils and some drought conditions. Gardeners often mass plant tufted fescue as ground covers, edging plants or rock garden accents.

Blue Fescue

Blue fescue grass (Festuca glauca) is an ornamental species native to Europe and winter hardy in hardiness zones 4 to 8. This fescue variety reaches 9 to 12 inches tall and forms clusters ranging from 12 to 18 inches wide. Non-showy, pale green flowers bloom in June and July. This plant tolerates various soil conditions but prefers full sun. Blue fescue bears arched, pointed blades with bluish-gray tints. This grass often declines in hot, humid climates. Blue fescue typically works well as border fronts, groundcovers or edging plant.

Red Fescue

Red fescue (Festuca rubra), a non-flowering fescue species, typically performs well in hardiness zones 3 to 6. This turfgrass bears green blades that reach up to 3 inches in height and forms clumps that spread out about 3 inches wide. While red fescue tolerates some drought conditions, it prefers cooler climates and partly shady positions. Gardeners often blend red fescue with bluegrass or tall fescue. This grass works well in shaded meadows and underneath shade trees.

California Fescue

The California fescue grass (Festuca californica) naturally occurs from Oregon to Southern California. This perennial grass features thin, bluish-green or dull green blades that mature to about 2 feet in height and form clusters that reach up to 3 feet in width. Small, yellow flowers appear from March through July. This bunchgrass tolerates various soil conditions but prefers partial shade positions. California fescue grass works well planted along woodland margins and damp stream banks.

Idaho Fescue

Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), sometimes known as bunchgrass fescue, is a cool-season grass that likes fertile soils in sunny locations. This fescue species features thin, blue-green or green-gray leaves that reach up to 3 feet in height. This grass clumps together to form spreads up to 15 inches in width. Idaho fescue blooms clusters of small, yellow flowers from April through July. This drought-tolerant perennial works well as an erosion control plant and as a groundcover for rocky or thin soils.

Keywords: fescue types, fescue varieties, kinds of fescue

About this Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like eHow.com and GardenGuides.com, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.