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The Plant Guide

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Karl Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass

Calamagrostis  × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

kal-ah-mah-GROS-tiss ex ah-kew-tih-FLOOR-ah

Versatile, attractive and care-free ornamental grass with wheat-like appearance. Slender, upright, deep-green, lustrous foliage becomes effective by early spring and lasts all the way until winter. A cool season grass, 'Karl Foester' is upright and clump forming, with purplish-green, feathery plumes to 6'. It distinctively blooms in early summer rather than fall and must have winter chill to bloom. Long lived — 25 years or more. -Santa Rosa Gardens

Noteworthy CharacteristicsConsidered drought tolerant and deer resistant once established. Attracts birds to the garden.

CareLeave foliage and flowers for winter effect, cut back in early spring near ground. Does not reseed. This is an excellent choice of grass for creating a hedge, backdrop or screen effect.

PropagationDivide in mid-spring.

ProblemsErgot, powdery mildew, tar spot, smut, and foot rot can occur.

  • Genus : Calamagrostis
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 10, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Tolerance : Deer Tolerant, Drought Tolerant
  • Bloom Time : Fall, Spring, Summer
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Plant Type : Grasses
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Flower Color : Pink
  • Characteristics : Showy Seed Heads
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
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  1. timmemphis 05/30/2015

    Two years-ago, I planted my first 5 Karl Foerster Native Grass Perennials. What a WONDERFUL ADDITION to my backyard garden! I planted sixteen additional Karl Foerster last year, and will be planting thirteen more this weekend.

    These are splendid perennial additions to any garden, because they have so much to offer, including the following: Year-round beauty; hardiness due to their drought-tolerance (maintenance-free for the most part); deer and rabbits don't bother them; due to their height (most can grow to 6 feet) - they offer privacy; other plants growing around them accentuate their beauty, AND vice-versa. And last, but certainly not least, the addition of these beautiful Native Grasses to your garden provide much needed opportunities for bees to pollinate, and they attract birds and butterflies.

    In sum, I can't say enough positive words about the Karl Foerster Perennials! If you don't have any in your garden yet, please consider adding them. You WILL NOT be disappointed!

    Please feel free to e-mail me with questions! My e-mail address is below. Important note to businesses: Please do not send advertising to this e-mail address. Thank you!

    Tim, Gardener
    St.Paul, Minnesota

    P.S. - I gave-up golf for gardening, and am a much happier (and less frustrated) person due to to the change!

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