Ornamental Grasses for Texas
Ornamental grasses are hardy, easy-care plants. The flowing plumes, distinctive seed heads, or attractive colors of grasses add new forms and areas of interest to the landscape. Ornamental grasses range in height from a few inches to over 6 feet. Dried ornamental grasses and seed heads can be used for decoration in the home.
Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) is native grass of the Texas tallgrass prairie. Big bluestem grows 3-4 feet tall on average, though some plants may be taller. This is a favorite pasture grass for livestock and wildlife. The stems are an attractive blue-green color. Birds and other wildlife eat the seed heads.
Muhly grass (Muehlenbergia lindheimeri) is another Texas native that grows best in Central, South and West Texas. The 3-foot-tall grass sends up purple plumes on long stalks in late summer and early fall. The foliage turns an attractive silvery blue in fall and winter.
Sideoats Gramma (Boutelona curtipendula) is also a native of the Texas prairie, where it was a favored forage plants of livestock and wildlife. Plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall. Seedheads form on one side of the stem, giving the grass its name.
The long white plumes of pampas grass (Cortaderia salloana) makes this a particularly attractive specimen plant. Pampas Grass grows up to 7 feet tall. You can also find pink and dwarf varieties of pampas grass.
The name fountain grass (Pennisetum ruppelii) describes the flowing, cascading appearance of fountain grass's long, slender blades. Fountain grass grows about 3 feet tall and produces feathery flowers that turn from whitish purple to bronze from summer into fall.
Purple Autumn Grass
Purple autumn grass (Miscanthus sinensis) takes its name from the purple hue the plants take after the first frosts. The plants grow 3-4 feet tall.