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Shade-Growing Tall Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses, with their interesting foliage and ease of care, are a popular choice for home gardeners who want to add some texture to their gardens. Tall ornamental grasses can make a stunning visual statement as a stand-alone centerpiece or privacy screen. All very tall (up to 10 feet) ornamental grasses are those that must have full sun exposure. The tallest shade-growing ornamental grasses will only reach a height of around 4 feet.

Tufted Hair Grass "Northern Lights" (Deschampsia caespitosa)

This tall, cool-climate grass is a non-blooming plant, but the pink, cream and gold variegated leaves more than make up for the lack of flowers. This variety of tufted hair grass can reach heights of about four feet. Other full-sun varieties can grow much taller.

Sarabande Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

Silver grasses are some of the most popular ornamental grasses in America, according to C.R. Wilson of Colorado State University. New varieties continue to be introduced every year. Japanese silver grass is a variety that grows up to five feet tall and will grow in the shade; although like most ornamental grasses, it does best with at least partial sunlight. This ornamental grass features narrow, long, silvery leaves and white-plumed flowers. Japanese silver grass is also quite hardy and will grow in almost any type of soil.

Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

Prairie dropseed is a warm-climate plant that works well as an accent plant, as well as attracting birds to the garden. This ornamental grass has thin, delicate graceful leaves that are a bright emerald green in the summer. In the fall, they become gold or orange. This plant will grow in the shade and prefers moist, well-draining soil. It can grow up to four feet tall.

Korean Feather Reed Grass (Stipa brachytricha)

Korean feather reed grass (Stipa brachytricha) is popular for its tall, pink flower heads that look like feathers; hence the name. It is also a desirable ornamental grass because it will bloom in the shade as long as it is provided with consistently moist soil. This plant can grow to a height of three feet and makes a beautiful statement when planted under trees.

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