Grasses for Special needs
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Ornamental Grasses for Special Needs
by Elliott's Mom

Check the great prices at

Grasses for Moist, Dry or Shade Conditions,
and Height and Fall Color

Perennial grasses are a good value - they live for years, sometimes decades, filling out quickly and reaching maturity in one or two years.  If you start them from seed, it will take a year or two longer, and this is an economical way to grow a large variety of ornamental grasses.

A nursery that has a display garden lets you see how plants mature and change through the season.  This is especially important with grasses because they often appear bedraggled in containers, and don't reflect the striking beauty they develop once planted. 

Grasses are typically sold in 1, 2 and 5 gallon containers - ranging in price from $12 and up for one in a 2 gallon container.

Best Annual Grasses

Fountain Grass

Pearl Grass

Rabbit's Tail

Over-all best ANNUAL ornamental grasses to grow

  • Annual Fountain Grass (pennisetum setaceum)

  • Great Quaking or Pearl Grass (briza maxima)

  • Feathertop Grass (pennisetum, villosum)

  • Rabbit's Tail Grass (lagurus ovatus)

Grasses for Dry Conditions

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Indian Grass

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Little Bluestem

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Prairie Dropseed

Grasses for dry conditions:

  • Broom-sedge

     (Andropogon virginicus)

  • Side-oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula),

  • Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)

  • Atlas Fescue (Festuca mairei)

  • June Grass (Koeleria macrantha)

  • Blue Hair Grass (Koeleria glauca)

  • Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum)

  • Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans)

  • Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

Grasses for Moist Conditions
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Feather Reed Grass
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Moor Grass
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Grasses for moist conditions: 

  • Sweet flag (Acorus calamus)

  • Japanese Sweet Flag (Acorus gramineus)

  • Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora)

  • Rushes (Juncus, all species)

  • Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea)

  • 'Woods Dwarf' dwarf ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea 'Woods Dwarf')

  • Feesey's Form Ribbon Grass (Phalaris anundinacea 'Feesey's Form')

  • Variegated Prairie Cord Grass (Spartina pectinata 'Aureomarginata')

Grasses for Fall Color
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Flame Grass
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Prairie Cordgrass

Grasses for Fall Color:

  • Broom-sedge (Andropogon virginicus, orange)

  • Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron,' wine-red)

  • Flame Grass (Miscanthus 'Purpurascens,' orange-red)

  • Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum, golden-yellow)

  • Red Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Hanse Herms,' burgundy)

  • Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans, yellow-orange)

  • Variegated Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata 'Aureomarginata,' yellow)

  • Japanese Themeda (Themeda japonica, red-orange)

Grasses for Screening/Privacy
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Pampas Grass
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Silver Feather
Maiden Grass

Grasses for Screening/Privacy:

  • Karl Foerster's Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster')

  • Compact Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila')

  • Ravenna Grass (Saccharum ravannae)

  • 'Cabaret' Miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis condensatus 'Cabaret')

  • 'Morning Light' Miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light')

  • Silver Feather Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Silberfeder'). 

Grasses for Light Shade
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Golden Meadow
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Bottle-brush Grass

Grasses for Light Shade:

  • Golden Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis 'Variegatus')

  • Sedges (most Carex species

  • Tufted Hair Grass (Deschampsia caespitosa)

  • Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

  • Bottle-brush Grass (Hystrix patula)

  • Variegated Moor Grass (Molina caerulea 'Variegata')

  • Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea)

  • Autumn Moor Grass (Sesleria autumnalis)

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