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Ornamental Grasses in Kentucky

By Stan Kane ; Updated September 21, 2017

Kentucky is home to a variety of ornamental grass species. The temperate climate of Kentucky, characterized by cold winters and warm summers, limits the ornamental grasses of this area to more hardy varieties such as Giant Reed, Sideoats Gamma, Blue Oats Grass and Purple Moor Grass. Ornamental grasses should be planted and pruned back in the spring and watered throughout the summer months. Most ornamental grasses can be divided by taking a segment of established grass and transplanting it in a new area.

Giant Reed

Giant Reed (Arundo donax) ornamental grass is a large, upright, arching, warm season, perennial grass that can grow between 7 and 20 feet. The blue-green leaves are coarse in texture. Light brown-white flowers stalks rise from 12 to 14 feet from August to October. Giant Reed can be cultivated in a wide variety of soil conditions, but is sensitive to direct sunlight.

Sideoats Gamma

Sideoats Gamma (Bouteloua curtipendula) ornamental grass has narrow, gray-green leaves, which extend 2 to 3 feet in height from a clump base. Purple flowers with sharp spikes extend outward from the grass stems throughout June and July. The leaves are arranged in an upright pattern, arching outward from the central clump. Sideoats Gamma grass prefer full sun exposure, alkaline soils and is drought tolerant.

Blue Oats Grass

Blue Oats (Helictotrichon sempervirens) ornamental grass is a perennial, cool season, semi-evergreen, clumping grass with blue-gray leaves arching upright from the clump and extending to a height of 1 to 3 feet. White-beige flowers blossom in mid-summer, and extend 2 to 6 inches. Blue Oats grass requires moist, fertile soil and partial to direct sunlight.

Purple Moor Grass

Purple Moor Grass (Molinia caerulea) is a perennial, warm season ornamental grass with fine texture and light green leaves, which extend 2 to 3 feet. This popular decorative turfgrass has light to dark purple flowers from July through September. Purple Moor Grass prefers high pH, moist soils and direct sunlight.


About the Author


Stan Kane is an experienced professional pilot and freelance writer. He enjoys writing about a diverse range of outdoor, science and technology topics. Kane has a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Tech and has been writing for Demand Studios since 2009.