Ornamental grasses add a beauty and elegance to the garden unmatched by other plants. They provide texture, color, sound and movement. They can act to unite a design when planted en masse or serve as a singular dramatic punctuating accent.
Sturdy and fast growing, they survive a wide variety of conditions, taking wind and salt air. Most varieties prefer average, well drained soil and full sun but will tolerate partial shade. They emerge from dormancy in March/April, grow throughout the summer and flower in late summer/fall. Cut back foliage to the ground in November/December for the winter.
For more detailed information about each plant, please refer to individual cultivar signs, or consult one of Swanson’s nursery professionals.
Calamgrostis x 'Karl Foerster' 5-6 feet high, 2-3 feet w.
Upright with narrow, green leaves. June bloom. Holds flowers throughout summer.
Calamagrostis arun. brachytricha 3-4 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
Arching green leaves. Aug-Sept.
NORTHERN SEA OATS
Chasmanthium latifolium 2-3 feet h., 2 feet w.
Upright green leaves. Unique flattened seed heads. Aug-Sept.
JAPANESE FOREST GRASS
Hakonechloa macra and cultivars
Mounding clumps, curving gracefully. Part shade/Shade. Aug-Sept.
Hakonechloa macra Green leaves. 2 feet h., 2 feet w.
H. macra 'Aureola' Gold variegated leaves. 2 feet h., 2 feet w.
H. macra 'Albo-striata' White edged leaves. 2 feet h., 2 feet w.
H. macra 'All Gold' Fully gold leaves. 2 feet h., 2 feet w.
H. macra 'Beni kazi' Green leaves turn red in fall. 2 feet h., 2 feet w
Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron' 1-2 feet h., 2 feet w.
Upright in shades of red, light green. Plant in groups. Moist soil.
Miscanthus ssp. and cultivars
Numerous cultivars varying in form texture and flower. Aug-Oct. Average to moist soil.
M. sinensis 'Gracillimus' Thin blade white center. 5-6 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
M. sinensis 'Morning Light' Thin blade white edge. 5-6 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
M. sinensiss 'Strictus' Upright, yellow horizontal stripes. 5-6 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
M. sinensis 'Gold Bar' Heavily variegated gold horizontal bands. 4-5 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
M. sinensis 'Yaku-jima' Thin bladed dwarf. Gold flowers. 3-4 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
Molinia ssp. and cultivars
Mounded and upright forms with spiky flowerheads. Average to moist soil.
Molinia caerulea 'Variegata' Low arching, dark purple flowers. Moist. Aug-Oct. 2 feet h., 2 feet w.
M. c. 'Moorflamme' Dark flower heads. Aug-Oct. 2 feet h., 2 feet w.
M. c. 'Skyracer' Tan, open flowerheads. Aug-Oct. 6-7 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
Panicum virgatum and cultivars
5-6 feet h., 3-4 feet w. Upright with cloudlike flowers Aug-Sept. Average to dry soil.
P. v. 'Northwind' Narrow upright. 4-5 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
P. v. 'Rotstrahlbusch' Red accents late summer to fall. 2- 3 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
P. v. 'Ruby Ribbons' Red accents early summer to fall. 2-3 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
P. v. 'Shenandoah' Red accents mid summer to fall. 2-3 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
Pennisetum ssp. and cultivars
Arching foliage, foxtail flowers Aug-Sept. Average to dry soil.
P. aloepecuroides Tan foxtail flowers late summer/fall. 4 feet h., 4 feet w.
P. a. 'Hameln' Dwarf form.Tan foxtail flowers late summer/fall. 2 feet h., 2 feet w.
P. a. 'Little Bunny' Dwarf form. Tan foxtial flowers late summer/fall. 1 foot h., 1.5 feet w.
P. a. 'Burgundy Bunny Dwarf. Red foliage accents summer/fall. 1.5 feet h.,1-2 feet w.
P. orientale 'Karly Rose' Smokey rose-purple flowers mid summer to fall. 3-4 feet h., 2-3 feet w.
Schizachrium ssp. and cultivars
Midwest prairie native, upright, architectural form. upright flowers Sept-Oct.
Schizachyrium scoparium 'Blaze' Blue-green foliage, red-orange fall color. 3 feet h., 2 feet w.
S. scoparium 'Jazz' Blue leaves, red-burgundy fall color. 2 feet h., 1 foot w.
S. scoparium 'The Blues' Blue leaves, red-burgundy fall color. 2-3 feet h., 1.5 feet w.