What 6-9' Ornamental Grasses Will Survive In Zone 5? - Knowledgebase Question

Liberty, IN
Avatar for lcr
Question by lcr
October 31, 1999
I live in zone 5 and am looking for an ornamental grass to plant in front of my house. It will be directly against a south facing rock wall. I like the tall grass that is full from the bottom up and just grass. Preferably with no plumes or color. I like saccharum ravennae but it is not listed to be viable in my zone. Can you offer an alternative or advise on keeping this grass healthy in my zone?

Answer from NGA
October 31, 1999
Thanks to Carole Ottesen's great book, "Ornamental Grasses" (McGraw-Hill, Inc.; ISBN 0-07-048021-4), I've found a few tall, hardy grasses for you to investigate. I don't know if you can find a grass that doesn't blossom, but you can cut them out if you wish. Miscanthus sinenis condensatus is a very natural looking grass, a good foil to your rock wall. Others to consider are Giant Reed (Arundo donax -- marginal in zone 5) and Giant miscanthus (M. floridulus -- zone 6). Perhaps with rich soil, plenty of moisture, and the microclimate created by your south-facing rock wall will keep it protected in winter. A heavy dose of mulch in fall will help immensely. If you can't find these grasses locally, try Kurt Bluemel, Inc., 2740 Greene Lane, Baldwin, MD 21013; ph# 301-557-7229; www.bluemel.com or Shady Oaks Nursery LLC, P.O. Box 708, Waseca, MN 56093; ph# 800-504-8006; www.shadyoaks.com. Best of luck to you!

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