Evergreen Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses are valuable for their texture, architectural structure, motion, and the natural feel they give in the garden.

The majority of ornamental grasses are deciduous, turning color in autumn, dying back and appearing again the following spring. This list, however, covers those grasses which remain evergreen throughout winter, making them extremely useful in high visibility areas and in containers.

(S) Indicates adaptability to shade or partial shade.

SEDGE - Carex SPECIES & CULTIVARS

WEEPING BROWN SEDGE (S)
Carex flagellifera 18 inches high, 24 inches wide
Finely textured, warm bronze foliage with mounding form.

ORANGE SEDGE (S)
Carex testacea 18 inches high, 24 inches wide
Olive green foliage with orange tips in winter.

Carex morrowii ‘Evergold’, ‘Eversheen’, ‘Everest’, ‘Everlime’, ‘Everillo’ (S) 12-18 inches high, 24 inches wide
Green gold, green/lime, green/white, lime green, all gold.

Carex ‘Feather Falls’, ‘Ribbon Falls’ 12 inches high, 18 inches wide Mounding with long narrow leaves, arching from the crown, weeping clump.

PAMPAS GRASS - Cortaderia SPECIES & CULTIVARS

PAMPAS GRASS
Cortaderia selloana 6 feet high, 5 feet wide
Huge clumps of long, slender foliage with showy white plumes.

DWARF PAMPAS GRASS
Cortaderia selloana 'Pumilla' 4-6 feet high, 3 feet wide
Dwarf form with compact habit and profuse bloom.

MONDO GRASS - Ophiopogon SPECIES & CULTIVARS

MONDO GRASS (S)
Ophiopogon japonicus
12 inches high, 12 inches wide
Slender, shiny, dense growth. Spreads by runners.

DWARF MONDO GRASS (S)
Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nanus' 3 inches high, 12 inches wide
Slender, shiny, dense, low-growing form. Spreads by runners.

BLACK MONDO GRASS (S)
Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' 8 inches high, 12 inches wide
Jet-black leaves. Slow-spreading by runners.

MISCELLANEOUS SPECIES & CULTIVARS

GOLD VARIEGATED SWEET FLAG (S) Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ 12 inches high, 18-24 inches wide Miniature Gold leaves with a fan-shaped habit. Likes moist soil.

MINIATURE GOLD SWEET FLAG (S) Acorus gramineus ‘Minimus-Aureus’ 2-3 inches high, 6-8 inches wide Miniature gold leaves with a fan-shaped habit. Likes moist soil.

PHEASANT TAIL GRASS
Anemanthelle lessoniana 24 inches high, 24 inches wide
Green turning to rusty orange in cold weather. Fluffy seed heads. Self seeds readily!

TURFED HAIR GRASS SPECIES & CULTIVARS Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’, ‘Goldhange’, ‘Bronzescheieler’, ‘Pixie Fountain’, ‘Schottland’ 24 inches high, 18 inches wide Green turning to rusty orange in cold weather. Fluffy seed heads. Self seeds readily!

GOLDEN TUFTED HAIR GRASS Deschampsia flexuosa ‘Aurea’ 6-8 inches high, 12-15 inches high Mounded tuft of fine golden leaves. Prefers drier soils.

BLUE FESCUE Festuca ovina glauca ‘Boulder Blue’, ‘Beyond Blue’ 10 inches high, 10 inches wide
Bright blue foliage, tufted form. Self seeds.

BLUE OAT GRASS Helictotrichon sempervirens 24 inches high, 36 inches wide
Intense blue, spikey foliage with rounded form. Oat-like flowers.

NEW ZEALAND IRIS Libertia peregrinans 12 inches high, 24 inches wide Stiff, spreading gold blades, white Iris-like flowers, orange seed heads.

AUTUMN MOOR GRASS Seslaria autumnalis 12 inches high, 18 inches wide Green mounded form, short white flowers mid-summer to fall.

GIANT FEATHER GRASS
Stipa gigantea 18 inches high, 36 inches wide
Bright green, low mound with stunning 6-foot high flower spikes.

RUSH
Juncus effusus ‘Quartz Creek’ 12-18 inches high, 12 inches wide
Bright green leaves radiate needle-like form the base. Needs moisture to look best.

RUSH
Juncus patens 'Occidental Blue', ‘Elk’s Blue’ 12-18 inches high, 12 inches wide
Blue-gray leaves radiate needle-like from base. Needs moisture to look best.

PRUNING ORNAMENTAL GRASSES

Evergreen Grasses are generally pruned in late February/early March if needed. It is best to prune back only 1/3 to 1/2 of the top to remove old leaves and stimulate new growth. Pruning more than this is generally not recommended. Pampas grass can be cut back to 18 inches if necessary. These include most forms of Acorus, Anemanthele, Carex, Cortaderia, Festuca, Juncus, Helictotrichon, Liriope, Luzula, Nasella and Stipa.