10 Ornamental Grasses to Grow in Your Garden

The impressive stature and elegant wispiness of grasses have made them a clear garden favourite. Grasses effortlessly introduce movement into the garden and are ideal for softening your planting scheme as they catch the slightest breeze. Also, the feathery flower spikes can be a treat to the senses. Introduce these plants as focal points by planting a large grass island or incorporate them one by one into a mixed border or containers for instant architectural flair.

Grasses are one of the most successful plant groups on earth and come in a multitude of sizes, with showy blades in red, orange, yellow, and even purple colours.

As savannah and prairie natives, grasses are generally easy to grow. They thrive in full sun with well-drained soil and prefer quite dry conditions.

For best results, plant grasses in an open sunny position either directly in the ground or in containers. They do not require much feeding, with one spring feed typically sufficient.

Here is our pick of 10 impressive grasses to grow. If you are ready to incorporate any of these ideas into your own garden and infuse it with new life, just reach out to our garden design specialists here.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’

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Also known as zebra grass, this deciduous grass has impressive cream-coloured bands along the leaves. It grows in graceful arching tufts and bears pink flowers in late summer. Height: 1.2 meters.

Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue'

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Compact and mound-forming, this blue fescue is ideal for smaller spaces and grows well in containers. Its elegant steel blue foliage will look fantastic in a gravel garden and among Mediterranean-style plants. Height: 30cm.

Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’

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This perennial grass, also called Japanese blood grass, has striking upright blades that turn bright red from late summer into autumn. It looks best when planted with other grasses or in containers. Height: 50cm

Pennisetum ‘Fairy Tails’

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Fountain grass has impressive arching flowers, changing from pink to white to buff, over a very long season from midsummer until the first frosts. Soft to the touch, this grass looks great when planted in large numbers to form a low hedge or screen. Height: up to 1.2m.

Stipa calamagrostis

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Also called pheasant grass, this Stipa has arching leaves and feathery flowers that easily catch the wind. Use it to soften straight lines in the garden and as a focal border plant. Height: 90cm.

Anemanthele lessoniana

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A native of New Zealand, Anemanthele (wind grass) provides year round interest with distinct red spotting along the leaves, which becomes more pronounced into the cooler autumn months. It is usually evergreen and has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Height: 1m.

Panicum virgatum ‘Purple Breeze’

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This hardy switch grass has a slim appearance that looks neat in narrow borders and containers. The green leaves turn rich purple from the tips downwards as the season progresses. Height: 1.2 to 1.5m

Stipa tenuissima

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The fluffy white plumes on this feather grass delight the senses and sway in the slightest breeze. The wispy yellow green leaves introduce instant movement into your planting scheme. Height: 60 cm.

Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’

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This feathery grass is particularly tough as it can tolerate light shade and grow as an evergreen. Also called tufted hair grass, its long flower plumes look golden as they catch the sun. It is compact and easy to grow. Height: 1m.

Molinia caerulea subsp. caerulea 'Heidebraut'

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“Moor grass” forms compact tufts of foliage with upright willow-like leaves providing height. The stems turn a beautiful orange-yellow colour into late autumn and carry purple flower spikes. Height: 1.5m