I'm looking for a bush or ornamental grass for my East facing front yard. - Knowledgebase Question

Peabody, Ma
Question by ade10311
September 19, 2008
My home is surrounded by various shrubbery, but there is a spot on the East facing area that needs filling.I'd love an ornamental grass for that area, but don't most of them take full sun? This area gets little sun. I'm looking for something different about 4-6 feet high. Thank you

Answer from NGA
September 19, 2008


You're right, most ornamental grasses grow best in full sun. There are a few that are shade tolerant, though:

Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is a warm-season, clump-forming grass native to North America. It displays a fairly upright and somewhat arching habit of growth and produces a mature clump 30 to 36 inches in height. Leaf blades are about 3/4 inch wide, flat and glabrous except for their rough margins. Northern sea oats derives its common name from its flowers, which are drooping panicles 5 to 10 inches long containing 1-inch spikelets that hang from threadlike pedicels. The overall effect of the flower is striking and not unlike the appearance of dangling green jewels that change from green to a reddish-bronze color at maturity. Flowers appear in late summer and remain attractive throughout the winter, giving this grass three seasons of effect. Northern sea oats prefers full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. It is one of the more shade tolerant ornamental grasses but will produce taller plants in shadier conditions. Northern sea oats can be used in borders, water gardens, naturalized areas and in dried flower arrangements.

Calamagrostis brachytricha (Korean Feather Reed Grass) ? Growing to 3?, it is one of the tallest grasses that is shade tolerant. Attractive and airy pink inflorescences appear in September. Full sun to shade, with soils that are moist to well drained.

Fargesia murielae ?New Umbrella? (Fountain Bamboo) ? Fargesia is the bamboo genus that is clump forming, and is non-invasive! Growing to 12?, this plant produces a beautiful arching clump, with small evergreen leaves lining the culms. Requires light shade for best growth. Deer resistant and very hardy (zone 4)!

Indocalmus tessellates ? Growing to 7? tall, this plant is famous for the very large foliage; leaves can reach 4? wide and 2? long! The leaves are used for mats and for wrapping food. It is ideal for a tropical or coarse appearance. Best planted in light shade and in areas not getting below ?5 degrees F.

Sasa veitchii (Veitch?s Bamboo) ? Large green leaves, to 6? in length develop thin tan margins with the onset of cooler weather in the fall, giving the plant the appearance of being variegated all winter. Mature height of 4?, hardy to 0 degrees F (zone 7).

Sasaella masamuneana ?Albostriata? ? Creamy white variegation on the leaves allows this plant to brighten shady locations. Plants grow to 3-4? in height and are hardy to 0 degrees F.

Hope these suggestions are helpful!

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