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Flowering Grasses: Uncommon Varieties

These 9 varieties have end-of-season fireworks you haven’t seen before

Fine Gardening – Issue 177

When it comes to ornamental grasses and their flowers, also known as inflorescences, it’s the subtle things that add up. Sure, they don’t have the in-your-face flower power of a peony, but the synergy of their texture and color is what makes them so showy—and, unfortunately, ephemeral. Grasses have a tendency to evolve quickly right in front of your eyes, going from clumps of foliage to spectacular flags of color waving in the wind seemingly overnight. In fact, the movement of their flowers is how ornamental grasses truly take your breath away.

Sometimes, it’s all about the late-season show. Although their foliage is a textural asset, the plumes of certain grasses, such as Korean feather reed grass (this page), ‘Red Rocket’ purple fountain grass, and big bluestem (facing page) are the best attribute.

During the season, grasses provide a backdrop and strong textural contrast to shrubs…

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