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Tall Grass Types

pampas image by Hubert from

Tall ornamental grasses can add unusual visual interest to a landscape. Although common prairie grasses can reach 3 or 4 feet, some grasses can grow to well over 10 feet tall. These ornamental grasses can, however, be sharp. Consider the possibility of cuts on children when placing your grass in areas where children may play.

Pampas Grass

Pampas grass can grow 10 feet tall in clumps that can reach 6 feet wide. In summer, seed plumes that can range in color from silvery white to pinkish white adorn the tops of these tall grasses. Some varieties of pampas grass feature variegated foliage. Although standard pampas grass can grow 10 feet, a number of dwarf varieties are available. Pampas grass does best in full sun, and is very low maintenance once established. It is tolerant of most soils, including salty soils and salt sprays, making it good for seaside landscaping. It is cold-hardy down to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zone 8, and can sometimes survive in Zone 7.

Big Bluestern

Big bluestern is a grass that can sometimes reach similar heights to pampas grass, 9 to 10 feet tall. The base of this grass is bluish, and the grass produces three-part flower clusters that look like a turkey foot. In some cases, the clusters may have as may as seven parts. The culms of this grass are generally covered with a waxy, blue coating. This grass flowers between July and October. Big bluestern is suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 9. It grows well in most soils, but does not do well in heavy clay, extremely wet soils, or deep sands. It will not tolerate high salinity or lime in the soil. It is very tolerant of light, growing well both in full sun and in partial shade.

Giant Chinese Silver Grass

Giant Chinese silver grass can reach 10 to 14 feet at maturity. Leaves of this grass are green with a silvery midrib. Leaves can reach 2-1/2 feet long and 1 to 1-1/2 inches wide. The stems if this tall grass can reach up to 2 inches in diameter. The seed plumes grow about 2-1/2 feet above the tallest foliage. It does best in full sun and grows best in fertilize, moist soils. This grass will grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9, but it may not flower in Zones 5 through 7.

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