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Ornamental Grasses That Grow in Shade

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Ornamental grasses are used as landscaping plants and include grasses, bamboo, sedges and rushes. Prized for their relative low cost and easy maintenance, ornamental grasses come in a variety of sizes, colors and textures. As a general rule, most ornamental grasses require lots of direct sunlight to maintain optimum health. However, some ornamental grasses that are well adapted to moist environments are also tolerant of partial shade.

Korean Feather Reed Grass

Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) requires moist, temperate environments and can grow up to 3 feet in height in partial shade. Aesthetically pleasing, Korean feather reed grass has pink flowers that form at the top of long blades.

Northern Sea Oats

Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is a shade-tolerant, cool-season grass with light green foliage that can grow up to 2 feet in height. This ornamental grass is easily distinguished by drooping, copper-colored flowers.

Tufted Hair Grass

Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) is a cool-season grass with dark green leaves and a tufted texture growing up to 4 feet high. This grass tolerates light shade, high elevation climates and a wide variety of soil conditions.

Velvet Grass

Velvet grass (Holcus lanatus) is a low growing, cool season grass with gray-green leaves and white flowers that bloom in summer. Tolerant of partial shade, velvet grass requires moist, well drained soil conditions.

Japanese Sedge

Japanese sedge (Carex morrowii) is a clump-forming sedge plant with bright green foliage that prefers temperate climates. Growing to 1 foot in height, Japanese sedge can tolerate partial shade but requires constant moisture and well drained soil.

Ornamental Grasses From Getting Too Big

Dig out sections of roots to root prune ornamental grasses. Regular pruning will keep ornamental grasses from taking up too much space, but only for three to five years. This will help control the overall size of the grass clump. Larger species may need heavier equipment to remove and divide, including an axe or saw. Trim away unwanted growth using garden shears, clipping back leaves like any other plant. Many ornamental grasses are good choices for areas where nothing else will grow. If your ornamental grass still grows rampant, relocating it to a tougher growing site can help slow its momentum and add value to an area where other plants may have difficulty thriving.

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