ornamental grasses - Knowledgebase Question

south elgin, Il
Question by papaeac
April 20, 2009
what choices do i have for grasses that grow to a height of about 5' and have a spread of at least 3'?

Answer from NGA
April 20, 2009


Not many ornamental grasses will grow to the exact proportions you have in mind, but all can be trimmed to keep them inbounds. Here are a few suggestions:
Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) is an upright, clump-forming grass which grows
4 to 6 feet tall and produces yellow-brown fl owers in late summer. The fall color is deep orange to purple eventually fading to tan.

Karl Foerster?s feather reed grass (Calamagrostis ? acutifl ora ?Karl Foerster?) is
a stiff, upright grass. Plants grow 4 to 5 feet tall. Feather reed grass fl owers in June. The inflorescence is initially pink to brownish purple, but matures to a beige or golden tan. The fall foliage color is tan. The stiff, upright growth habit
and tan fall color give feather reed grass a wheatlike appearance.

Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is an upright-narrow to upright-arching grass. Northern sea oats grow about 3 feet tall. Flowering occurs in summer. The fl at, green seedheads, along with the foliage, turn brown to bronze in the fall. The seedheads persist through the winter, dangling in the wind. The brown seedheads also are suitable for dried flower arrangements.

The genus Miscanthus contains several species and numerous cultivars of ornamental grasses. Silver feather miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis ?Silberfeder?) is an upright, clump-forming grass that grows to a height of 6 to 8 feet. Large, silvery
white fl owers are produced in late summer and are borne high above the foliage. In the fall, ?Silberfeder? has tan foliage and beige plumes.

Best wishes with your landscape.

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