Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 96: Favorite Ornamental Grasses

Video by Danielle Sherry and Carol Collins. Edited by Kara Demos.

Nothing says fall in the garden more than the sight of ornamental grasses pluming. It goes right along with all other things that signal the season change—the kids going back to school, pumpkin spice everything, and turning the heat on for the first time. Gardeners seem to have a love/hate relationship with ornamental grasses. They have great texture, they give life to the late-season landscape, and many are native to North America. But some spread like noxious weeds, become invasive, or are maintenance nightmares that need frequent division. In this episode we discuss some of our favorites from this category of plants—grasses that are stunning in three seasons (if not four) and don’t require a plethora of care to look their best. We even talk about a few newbie grasses that you might not have heard of before!

Expert testimony: Paul Zammit lives and gardens in Toronto’s West End, and is a professor of horticulture at Niagara College in Southern Ontario.

Danielle’s Plants

‘Moudry’ fountain grass close-up of plumes
‘Moudry’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’, Zones 4–9)

‘Moudry’ fountain grass habit
‘Moudry’ fountain grass habit

 

‘Blue Zinger’ sedge
‘Blue Zinger’ sedge (Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’, Zones 5–9)

 

‘Honeycomb’ blue grama grass (Credit: Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)
‘Honeycomb’ blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis ‘Honeycomb’, Zones 4–9). Photo: Intrinsic Perennial Gardens

 

Variegated purple moor grass (Credit: Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)
Variegated purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea subsp. caerulea ‘Variegata’, Zones 4–9). Photo: Intrinsic Perennial Gardens

 

Carol’s Plants

'Shenandoah’ switch grass, late-season color
‘Shenandoah’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’, Zones 5–9), late-season color

 

‘Blonde Ambition’ blue grama grass
‘Blonde Ambition’ blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’, Zones 3–10)

‘Blonde Ambition’ blue grama grass, close-up of seed heads
‘Blonde Ambition’ blue grama grass, close-up of seed heads

 

'Oehme’ palm sedge
‘Oehme’ palm sedge (Carex muskingumensis ‘Oehme’, Zones 4–9)

 

‘Standing Ovation’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation’, Zones 4-9)
‘Standing Ovation’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’, Zones 4–9)

 

Expert’s Plants

Paul Zammit lives and gardens in Toronto’s West End and is a professor of horticulture at Niagara College in Southern Ontario.

Northern sea oats (Credit: Paul Zammit)
Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium, Zones 3–8). Photo: Paul Zammit

 

‘Red Rooster’ leatherleaf sedge (Credit: Paul Zammit)
‘Red Rooster’ leatherleaf sedge (Carex buchananii and cvs., Zones 6–9). Photo: Paul Zammit

Leatherleaf sedge in a container planting (Credit: Paul Zammit)
Leatherleaf sedge in a container planting. Photo: Paul Zammit

 

‘Blackhawks’ big bluestem (Credit: Paul Zammit)
 ‘Blackhawks’ big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Blackhawks, Zones 3–9). Photo: Paul Zammit

‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass (Credit: Paul Zammit)
 ‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra spp. and cvs., Zones 5–9). Photo: Paul Zammit

 

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Comments

  1. Mark214 10/13/2021

    Ornamental grass is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this article.

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