National Gardening Association
NGA Articles: 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass

'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (cont)

By: Michael MacCaskey

Garden Uses

Some call the plant "metamorphic" for all the different stages it passes through in a season. Others have referred to it as the "perpetual motion grass" for its ability to catch and give motion to the slightest breeze.

Use 'Karl Foerster' as an individual specimen or small clump to provide a strong vertical accent, or mass a row to create a very fast growing, 5-foot high screen. It also serves well in containers and will survive most winters unprotected as far north as zone 6.

Naturally floral designers love 'Karl Foerster' for its use in fresh or dried arrangements. Stems cut before the flowers mature will last for months in an arrangement while maintaining the golden tan color. In heavy rain or wind the stems will dip and droop in all directions but return to vertical as soon as the storm passes.

A combination of 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass with various other perennials makes a dramatic effect in the landscape. Consider combinations with late summer and fall-blooming perennials blooming perennials such as Coreopsis, Echinacea, Liatris, and Rudbeckia.

Given all this attributes, it's easy to see why 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass is one of the most popular ornamental grasses year after year, and why the Perennial Plant Association named it Perennial of the Year.

Michael MacCaskey is the editorial director at National Gardening Association.

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