Senior Member
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who likes the ornamently grasses?

Who likes ornamental grass? I can never make up my mind whether I like it or not. I think if planted it the right place it can add a dramatic affect and compliment you garden. or maybe even to contrast with color. You tell me. GOOD or BAD
Happy Gardening

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ornimental grass can just be the one thing you are missing and can really accent the eye catching effect i love ornimental grass there are all kinds of it some are green and some have a blue tint to them they are great accent plants
love all gods creations and love plants and trees for they provide the oxygen we all breathe
don't give up keep trying=)

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Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 3:13 am
Location: Denver, CO (zone 5)

Ornamental grasses are good. They give dimension to the garden and provide shade for the hottest spots in your garden. Some ornamentals are host plants for various butterflies and other beneficial critters and bugs.

I love the sound of the wind blowing my ornamental grass in the fall when the grass has started to dry out. It's almost poetic hearing the sshhiyissshhhh sound as I'm working in the garden.

I planted some flame grass at a higher level in my garden and the additional height provides me some privacy. I'll have even more when the butterfly bush I planted between two bunches of my grass grows taller and fills in that spot.

Flame grass adds winter interest because the grass is such a pretty pinkish reddish and a tiny bit of orange tint gold color. When it snows, you can see the flame grass peeking out. When the snow melts, the grass is almost completely upright again.

Here are some photos from last year of my flame grass.





"Love all God's creatures, the animals, the plants. Love everything to perceive the divine mystery in all." -Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Green Thumb
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Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

I love ornamental grasses. These two firms are known for their use of grasses:
Grasses tend to be more effective when massed (but every rule is made to be broken) so they can be tricky to use in small spaces.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has an excellent grasses display. Go soon and again in the fall to see their autumn color.[url]https://www.arboretum.umn.edu/[/url]

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Location: Maine

I love ornamental grasses too. They give great structure and hold us over through the winter with texture and color (albeit mostly blond and tawny!). They are also almost fully sized within a couple of years --- a great way to get a buffer or mature looking landscape without waiting forever. Also some, like Calamagrostis (Feather Reed) are good for parking lots where you have a narrow space and ugly light poles, etc., and want to fill in with something soft looking.

Make a very careful distinction between runners and clumpers, and you'll love the advantages of each.

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I'm the odd man out in this discussion. I love the looks of non-native ornamental grasses and would sure love to be able to have some here but think planting them is generally going to be about the equivalent of playing with fire. I'm all for ornamental grasses providing they're native varieties and by that I mean locally native within about a 100-200 mile radius of one's property. Normally I don't say much over here in perennials but non-native ornamental grasses re-seeding from the parent plants belonging to homeowners in my community are costing me thousands of dollars. Miscanthus sinensis and M. sacchariflorus are very popular ornamental grasses. I'm constantly removing them and many of their cultivars these days. Bromus tectorum (Cheatgrass) is responsible for considerable damage to property since its been let loose and I'm thanking God I don't have that on my plate to remove. Setaria pumila (Foxtail Grass) and Phalaris arundinacea (Ribbon Grass/Reed Canary Grass), still very popular ornamentals available for sale in several different varities, and my bane these days. Some of the ornamental fountaingrasses and bufflegrasses are fire resistant. That leaves chemical control which pretty much wipes out everything else along with the fountaingrasses and bufflegrasses. Just the perspective from a very tired gardener who feels as if she's bailing out the ocean with a bucket at times.

That being said, almost all of the Calamagrostis ornamental grasses can be great ornamentals except one- Calamagrostis epigeios.

Ornamental grasses can be the best addition to a landscape for all the reasons mentioned by cheshirecat... if they are very carefully chosen for where one gardens.

I love ornamental grasses and would plant my whole front yard in them if I could but only have a few and every one I have was chosen for me to use by somebody else who is considerably more familiar with grasses than me. These are pretty much all that I have and they're limping along because of all the other grasses choking them out-
Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats)

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)

Koeleria macrantha (June Grass)

Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed)

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats Grama Grass)

Elymus hystrix (Bottlebrush Grass)

Hierochloe hirta (Vanilla Grass)

Speaking of which, I will have seed of some of the above to share with anyone who might be interested.

Senior Member
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Location: Minnesota

Sounds like you guys are all for these grasses.Now you have inspired me to buy some but i got to get off of this computer, a tornado just a little ways a way and I am freaking out. I don't think it will hit us but it's always scary when it gets close.
Happy Gardening

praying mantis
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Location: Northern California

I love the pictures of flame grass.

Tomorrow I will be volunteering at my local native plant nursery. I have alot to learn, since I just found out that my Carex morrowii is from Japan. I am going to try to acquire the Carex pansa for the backyard which is a cali native.

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Location: Denver, CO (zone 5)

Thanks for providing information about the different grasses lorax. I like that prairie dropseed.

Interesting that many of the grasses you grow look like the invasive grasses I pull up as weeds here. Although they are native to North America, I can't grow anything that gives doubt of their ornamental use - otherwise I'd get a fine for my grass being too tall. That's one of the reasons I chose the flame grass - with very broad leaves, colorful foliage, and neat clumping habit I shouldn't have to worry about the city giving me a hefty fine and forcing me to mow it.

I've had the flame grass for three years. This is the fourth year and I haven't found it to be invasive at all. It's propagated by dividing the root ball, not by seeds. And the thick leaves, when cut down every few years give me a nice clump of colorful mulch. I think I may cut some this year to use in flower arrangements - the plumes are so nice. I will probably try dividing it this year also so I can grow more in the full sun areas of my garden that get very very hot and need tall plants interspersed for bits of shade.

I agree that ornamental grasses need to be chosen carefully. I wanted to grow Pampas grass even though they need a lot of room. I see them frequently in landscapes around here but when I planted them, they required a lot more water to get them established than I provide for my other plants. For me, that was a negative. The only plants I want to give a lot of water to should provide food in return.
"Love all God's creatures, the animals, the plants. Love everything to perceive the divine mystery in all." -Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Garden Spider
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Location: Western Washington

I have several ornamental grasses:

Festucca idahoensis (Idaho fescue), a PNW native grass.

Calamagrostis "Overdam"

Stipa gigantea (the botanical name has been changed, and I can't remember the new name)--this one is going to be removed, as it is just too big for my little garden.

Miscanthus "Morning Light"--it's supposed to be Morning Light, but suspect it is really some other Miscanthus variety. I have 2 of these, and love them. They have never re-seeded themselves or spread in any way around the garden. Yes, I know seeds can germinate far away from the parent plant, but M. sinensis so far has not been found in the wild here.

I'd like to get more native grasses, but 1) they are not easy to find, and 2) many of the natives have some very undesirable characteristics (root mass 6 ft thick, which would make removing or dividing clumps an unholy nightmare; prolific re-seeding similar to a tumbleweed; rapid spreading by underground runners).

Lorax, I like the looks of Panicum (switchgrass), but it is a vigorous spreader here in the PNW. It's not on our noxious weed list, but people who have planted it here soon regret it. It's one that local Master Gardeners tell people to avoid. Miscanthus sinensis is one that is recommended locally as an alternative.

No particular point to this, except what's a pest in one area and climate zone may work very well in another. Every gardener should educate her/himself about the plants they buy. I once ordered Elymus glaucus from a catalog, thinking it was our native ryegrass, only to find out it was actually Elymus arenarius "Glaucus", AKA Blue Lime Grass, a European species that is a thug. As soon as I found out, I called the nursery and cancelled that part of the order, and substituted M. sinsensis.
Barb and the Two Furry Speedbumps

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I absolutely LOVE ornamental grasses. My husband used to joke that our entire yard would just be one ornamental grass one day. I currently have in my yard: fiber optic grass, zebra grass, muhly grass,dwarf blue fescue, and at least a half dozen others. They can be so easy to care for, are inexpensive, and I feel they really bring a certain look to the landscape, somewhere between tropical and asian. I LOVE them!

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I have to agree with TheLorax on this subject. Ornamental grasses can be very attractive in a yard, but they can also naturalize and destroy the environment for native grasses. It has become a problem in parts of Oregon.

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I'm also with Lorax and Kisal on this one. Growing right in the middle of my beautiful Switch grass was a clump of Miscanthus compliments of a neighbors grass that seeded from a block away.

I think one of the most beautiful grasses is the little bluestem. I have the cultivar "The Blues" that starts as a elegant fine bladed grass with a blue hue and just when you think it couldn't get prettier it turns a rosy pink in the Fall.

The switch grass and Indian grass is beautiful too interlaced with native flowers. Mine are right on the sidewalk strip and they clearly look like an ornamental grass even though they are native. They have a large stately presence and support the native flowering plants.

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Location: Northern IL, Almost WI

ornamental grasses...

I think they can be a wonderful addition to a traditional garden, although I think they can be overdone and look too "messy". Sometimes more is not always better. There is one I just love (although I'm sorry that I don't know it's name), that is almost a crimson red. It has the furry caterpiller tips to it and ALL OF IT is a beautiful crimson red. It's a really nice contrast to "garden greens". :wink:
Namaste, Laura

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Probably a popular fountain grass cultivar called ‘Rubrum’. Has a common name of Crimson Fountaingrass and quite a few are classified as noxious weeds and/or invasive. Almost all of the pennisetums are introduced (non-native). This is a link to the USDA site which shows how this genus has naturalized over the entire lower 48 states-

Another common name for pennisetums is Buffelgrass but using that common name doesn't sound nearly as nice in marketing campaigns as Fountaingrass does so needless to say the nursery industry sells them under more desirable common names.

It sure is an attractive plant but this would be the reason why I previously mentioned that grasses can be a great addition to a landscape if carefully chosen. kisal hit it on the head, grasses such as Crimson Fountaingrass "can be very attractive in a yard, but they can also naturalize and destroy the environment"... but it's not just the native grasses in the environment that they can push out and destroy, it's many other types of plants too. And when those other plants get pushed out, the species of fauna that depended on them get pushed out too.

The nutritional value of the vast majority of non-native plants is no where near what native species of animals need to survive and thrive. The reality is that native critters co-evolved over tens of thousands of years with species indigenous to this continent not species from Africa such as this particular perennial bunch grass. One of the reasons why habitat destruction is taking such a devastating toll is that ornamental plants are escaping cultivation and ending up taking root in the shrinking wilds at unprecedented rates. Perhaps an over simplification but sort of about the equivalent of removing the eucalyptus from Australia and expecting the koala to survive. The koala co-evolved over on their continent with their native plants and isn't adapted to the plants we have over here on our continent. Allow enough of the eucalyptus trees to be displaced with vegetation from North America and the koala disappears off the face of their continent. Most animals have specialized diets. They can get by for a while on cheap fillers but over time those cheap fillers result in the decline of their populations.

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I love the different grasses.
Put in an area of their own they do make a big impression.


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