Ornamental Grasses comprise a marvelous group of plants requiring little care. They are not lawn grasses, but rather a group of plants with graceful habits and heights, fine textures and colors that add great beauty and interest to the garden. Because they last so long, they might be called plants for all seasons.
Ornamental Grasses can be grown under many diverse soil conditions, and are usually free of disease and insect problems. Many varieties such as Fountain Grass or Aureola Hakenechloa are tolerant of severe drought. Many large varieties create the illusion of movement, especially in the slightest breeze.
Home gardeners have found that Ornamental Grasses combine well with other flowers and herbs, providing an interesting range of textures and colors to the garden. They may be used successfully to set off small or large lawn areas. The range of color is quite diverse, from the bluest of blues to green, chartreuse, some variegated with silver, white or yellow, to the reddest of reds. Ornamental Grasses are truly outstanding landscape plants, giving an added bonus of material for long-lasting flower arrangements.
Ornamental Grass Culture
Check the hardiness rating of the Ornamental Grass you want to grow. Burpee lists the hardiness zone at the end of each variety description. Compare this with your Hardiness Zone. Match the correct plant to your garden’s climate (hardiness zone).
Most Ornamental Grass varieties appreciate sun, and will perform best when grown in full sunlight. Some varieties, though sun-loving will do well in partial shade, but would be taller or more sturdy when given an exposure of full sun. The variety descriptions should help you decide where you can place your Ornamental Grasses.
Transplanting Ornamental Grass
A little help in the beginning will get your Ornamental Grasses off to a good start. Care for your plants as you would any new addition to your garden. If your soil is dry when you transplant, make sure to fill in the large planting hole with water before setting in the new plant. Add some compost to the soil, fill in the planting matter around your Ornamental Grass, and water again.
Optimal Soil Conditions
Most Ornamental Grass varieties will only require ordinary soil, one that is moderately fertile and well drained. Some types become rank in rich soils, so you may have to experiment a little and grow those varieties in poorer soils.
Good drainage is a must, even for those plants that like to be grown in high moisture-retentive materials. NO ORNAMENTAL GRASS LlKES WET FEET.
In areas with year-round rainfall, established plants will not need watering except during periods of serious drought.
Grasses native to an area, such as Southern California or climates with seasonal rainfall, will go dormant in the dry season, and may die if they are given water. The non-natives would need some watering.
Mulch tender varieties, or Ornamental Grasses you have selected that are being grown north of their recommended hardiness zone.
Ornamental Grass Growing Tips
-Cut back Ornamental Grasses in the spring before new growth shows. Large clumps will need dividing about every 3 years.
-Varieties with fine flowers and/or seed heads should have plain backgrounds to show off their blooms.
-Specimen plants should be given plenty of room to grow, to eliminate clutter or visual competition.
-You will find grasses with interesting textures to be best displayed in groups.
-Some seed heads move or rustle in a light breeze. Plan carefully for sound and movement.