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18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Ornamental Grass Varieties

Enhance your outdoor space with these low-maintenance Ornamental Grasses. From tall and airy to short and tidy, find the perfect variety to suit your gardening style.

The gentle swaying of Ornamental Grasses in the breeze adds a touch of elegance and movement to any landscape. These versatile plants come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a popular choice for gardeners seeking to create a visually stunning and low-maintenance outdoor space. From tall and airy varieties that create a dramatic focal point to shorter, more compact options for borders and containers, there’s an ornamental grass to suit every gardening style.

1. Pampas Grass

Pampas-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Pampas Grass:

Common NamesPampas Grass
Botanical NameCortaderia selloana
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size6-10 feet tall and wide (varies by variety)
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeWell-draining, sandy loam
Bloom TimeLate summer to early fall
Flower ColorCreamy white, pink, or purple plumes
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 7-11
Native AreaSouth America, particularly Argentina and Brazil

Originating from South America, the pampas grass is a true showstopper. Its large, fluffy plumes can reach heights of up to 10 feet, creating an impressive vertical accent in your garden. Available in shades of white, pink, and silvery-gray, this grass brings a touch of drama and texture to any landscape. Pampas grass thrives in full sun and well-draining soil, making it a perfect choice for warm, dry climates.

2. Fountain Grass

Fountain-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Fountain Grass:

Common NamesFountain Grass
Botanical NamePennisetum alopecuroides
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size2-4 feet tall and wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeWell-draining, fertile soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorCreamy white, pink, or purple bottlebrush-like plumes
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 5-9
Native AreaAsia, Australia, and Africa

The aptly named fountain grass is a graceful addition to any outdoor space. Its arching, fountain-like shape and delicate plumes come in a range of colors, including green, purple, and burgundy. This grass is relatively compact, growing between 2 and 4 feet tall, making it ideal for borders, rock gardens, and containers. Fountain grass is drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, requiring little more than occasional pruning to maintain its tidy appearance.

3. Feather Reed Grass

Feather-Reed-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Feather Reed Grass:

Common NamesFeather Reed Grass
Botanical NameCalamagrostis x acutiflora
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size2-5 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining soil
Bloom TimeLate spring to early summer
Flower ColorPurple, bronze, or tan plumes
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 4-9
Native AreaHybrid plant, not found in the wild

Feather reed grass is a versatile choice that can adapt to various growing conditions. Its upright, reed-like stems and feathery plumes create a soft, airy texture in the garden. This grass ranges in height from 2 to 5 feet, making it suitable for both borders and larger plantings. Feather reed grass is hardy and low-maintenance, thriving in full sun to partial shade.

4. Miscanthus

Miscanthus-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Miscanthus Grass:

Common NamesMiscanthus Grass, Maiden Grass
Botanical NameMiscanthus spp.
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature SizeVaries by species, typically 4-8 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorSilvery-white, pink, or red plumes
Hardiness ZonesVaries by species, typically USDA zones 4-9
Native AreaAsia, Africa, and Pacific Islands

With its striking height and graceful, arching form, miscanthus is a true garden centerpiece. This ornamental grass can reach up to 12 feet tall, creating a dramatic focal point in any landscape. Its plumes range in color from silvery-white to pinkish-red, adding visual interest throughout the growing season. Miscanthus is relatively low-maintenance and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, making it a great choice for both experienced and novice gardeners.

5. Blue Fescue

Blue-Fescue-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Blue Fescue Grass:

Common NamesBlue Fescue Grass, Festuca glauca
Botanical NameFestuca glauca
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size6-12 inches tall and wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeWell-draining, sandy soil
Bloom TimeLate spring to early summer
Flower ColorInconspicuous, usually blue-green foliage
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 4-8
Native AreaEurope, Asia

For those seeking a compact and tidy ornamental grass, blue fescue is an excellent option. This low-growing grass forms dense, mounding clumps with striking blue-gray foliage. Typically reaching heights of 6 to 12 inches, blue fescue is perfect for edging, rock gardens, and containers. Its cool-toned hue provides a beautiful contrast to other plants in the garden, and its drought-tolerant nature makes it a low-maintenance choice.

6. Switch Grass

 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round
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Here’s a short information chart for Switch Grass:

Common NamesSwitch Grass
Botanical NamePanicum virgatum
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size3-6 feet tall and 1-3 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorPurple, pink, or tan airy panicles
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 5-9
Native AreaNorth America, particularly the eastern U.S. and Midwest

Switch grass is a native North American prairie grass that adds a touch of rustic charm to any landscape. Its upright, airy habit and delicate, cloud-like plumes in shades of green, pink, or reddish-purple create a soft, wispy appearance. This grass can reach heights of 3 to 6 feet, making it a versatile choice for various garden settings. Switch grass is drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, thriving in full sun and well-draining soil.

7. Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese-Forest-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Japanese Forest Grass:

Common NamesJapanese Forest Grass, Hakone Grass
Botanical NameHakonechloa macra
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size1-2 feet tall and wide
Sun ExposurePart shade to full shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining soil
Bloom TimeRarely flowers
Flower ColorInconspicuous, usually insignificant
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 5-9
Native AreaJapan

For a more delicate and gentle touch, consider the Japanese forest grass. This low-growing grass forms graceful, cascading mounds of slender, arching foliage that ranges in color from green to golden-yellow, depending on the variety. Japanese forest grass is an excellent choice for shaded areas, rock gardens, and containers, adding a soft, naturalistic touch to any garden setting.

8. Ravenna Grass

Ravenna-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Ravenna Grass:

Common NamesRavenna Grass, Hardy Pampas Grass
Botanical NameSaccharum ravennae
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size8-12 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeWell-draining, fertile soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorCreamy-white, silvery plumes
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 6-10
Native AreaSouthern Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia

Originating from the Mediterranean region, Ravenna grass is a striking ornamental grass with a bold, upright habit. Its tall, slender stems can reach heights of up to 12 feet, topped with airy, plume-like seed heads that sway gracefully in the breeze. Ravenna grass is a low-maintenance choice that thrives in full sun and well-draining soil, making it a great addition to larger gardens or as a privacy screen.

9. Korean Feather Reed Grass

Korean-Feather-Reed-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Korean Feather Reed Grass :

Common NamesKorean Feather Reed Grass, Korean Reed Grass
Botanical NameCalamagrostis brachytricha
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size2-4 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorPinkish-silver, feathery plumes
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 5-9
Native AreaKorea

The Korean feather reed grass is a compact and versatile ornamental grass that adds texture and movement to any garden. Its narrow, upright foliage and delicate, feathery plumes create a soft, airy appearance. This grass typically reaches heights of 2 to 4 feet, making it suitable for borders, rock gardens, and even containers. Korean feather reed grass is low-maintenance and tolerates a wide range of growing conditions, from full sun to partial shade.

10. Little Bluestem

Little-Bluestem 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round
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Here’s a short information chart for Little Bluestem:

Common NamesLittle Bluestem
Botanical NameSchizachyrium scoparium
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size2-4 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeWell-draining, sandy to clayey soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorSilvery-white, purplish-brown, or reddish-brown
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 3-9
Native AreaNorth America, particularly the Great Plains

Native to North America, little bluestem is a warm-season grass that adds a beautiful display of color to the garden. Its fine-textured foliage ranges from blue-green in spring and summer to a stunning blend of red, orange, and purple hues in fall. This grass typically grows between 2 and 4 feet tall, making it a versatile choice for borders, meadows, and naturalized areas. Little bluestem is drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, thriving in full sun and well-draining soil.

11. Zebra Grass

Zebra-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Zebra Grass:

Common NamesZebra Grass
Botanical NameMiscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size5-7 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorPink to reddish-purple plumes
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 4-9
Native AreaAsia, including China, Japan, and Korea

As its name suggests, zebra grass is a striking ornamental grass with distinctive horizontal banding on its foliage. The bright yellow bands contrast beautifully with the green blades, creating a unique and eye-catching pattern. This grass can reach heights of 5 to 7 feet, making it a bold addition to any garden. Zebra grass is low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, thriving in full sun and well-draining soil.

12. Northern Sea Oats

Northern-Sea-Oats-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round
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Here’s a short information chart for Northern Sea Oats Grass:

Common NamesNorthern Sea Oats Grass, Inland Sea Oats
Botanical NameChasmanthium latifolium
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size2-4 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide
Sun ExposurePart shade to full shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorGreenish, drooping spikelets resembling oats
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 3-9
Native AreaNorth America, including eastern and central United States

Native to North America, northern sea oats is a clump-forming grass that adds a touch of rustic charm to any landscape. Its flat, green foliage is topped with distinctive, oat-like seed heads that sway gracefully in the breeze. This grass typically reaches heights of 2 to 4 feet, making it suitable for borders, meadows, and naturalized areas. Northern sea oats is adaptable to various soil conditions and can tolerate partial shade, making it a versatile choice for many gardens.

13. Purple Fountain Grass

 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Purple Fountain Grass:

Common NamesPurple Fountain Grass
Botanical NamePennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size2-4 feet tall and wide
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeWell-draining, fertile soil
Bloom TimeSummer to fall
Flower ColorPurple, burgundy, or reddish-brown plumes
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 8-11
Native AreaSub-Saharan Africa

For a bold pop of color, consider the purple fountain grass. Its arching, fountain-like form and vibrant, reddish-purple foliage create a striking focal point in any garden. This grass grows between 2 and 4 feet tall, making it ideal for borders, containers, and mass plantings. Purple fountain grass thrives in full sun and well-draining soil, adding a tropical flair to any outdoor space.

14. Chinese Silver Grass

 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Chinese Silver Grass:

Common NamesChinese Silver Grass, Maiden Grass, Eulalia Grass
Botanical NameMiscanthus sinensis
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size4-8 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorSilvery-white, pink, or purple plumes
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 5-9
Native AreaAsia, including China, Japan, and Korea

The Chinese silver grass is a stunning ornamental grass with a unique, silvery-white appearance. Its slender, arching foliage and feathery plumes create a soft, ethereal look in the garden. This grass can reach heights of 4 to 8 feet, making it a dramatic addition to larger spaces or as a privacy screen. Chinese silver grass is low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, thriving in full sun and well-draining soil.

15. Pink Muhly Grass

Pink-Muhly-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round
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Here’s a short information chart for Pink Muhly Grass:

Common NamesPink Muhly Grass
Botanical NameMuhlenbergia capillaris
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size2-3 feet tall and wide
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeWell-draining, sandy soil
Bloom TimeLate summer to fall
Flower ColorPink, airy, cloud-like inflorescences
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 6-10
Native AreaSoutheastern United States, Mexico, Central America

For a touch of delicate beauty, consider the pink muhly grass. Its fine-textured foliage forms a graceful, cloud-like mound, topped with airy, pink plumes that resemble a soft, hazy veil. This grass typically grows between 2 and 4 feet tall, making it suitable for borders, rock gardens, and containers. Pink muhly grass is drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, thriving in full sun and well-draining soil.

16. Fiber Optic Grass

Fiber-Optic-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Fiber Optic Grass:

Common NamesFiber Optic Grass, Isolepis cernua
Botanical NameIsolepis cernua
FamilyCyperaceae (Sedge family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size1 – 3 inches tall
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining soil
Bloom TimeSummer
Flower ColorGreen, inconspicuous
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 8-11
Native AreaNew Zealand, Australia, and parts of Asia

Fiber optic grass is a unique and whimsical ornamental grass that adds a touch of playfulness to any garden. Its slender, upright stems are topped with delicate, thread-like blades that resemble glowing fiber optic strands. This grass typically grows between 1 and 3 feet tall, making it a perfect choice for borders, rock gardens, and containers. Fiber optic grass thrives in moist, well-draining soil and partial to full sun, adding a touch of charm to any outdoor space.

17. Ruby Grass

Ruby-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart forRuby Grass :

Common NamesRuby Grass
Botanical NameMelinus nerviglumis
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Plant TypePerennial grass
Mature Size1-3 feet tall and wide
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeWell-draining, sandy soil
Bloom TimeSummer to fall
Flower ColorDeep pink to red spikes
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 8-11
Native AreaAfrica, Asia, and Australia

Ruby grass is a striking ornamental grass that adds a bold pop of color to any garden. Its slender, upright foliage emerges in shades of deep red and burgundy, creating a vibrant, eye-catching display. This grass typically grows between 1 and 3 feet tall, making it suitable for borders, containers, and mass plantings. Ruby grass is low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, thriving in full sun and well-draining soil.

18. Sweetflag Grass

Sweetflag-Grass 18 Ornamental Grass Varieties to Beautify Your Landscape All Year Round

Here’s a short information chart for Sweetflag Grass :

Common NamesSweet Flag, Calamus, Sweet Sedge
Botanical NameAcorus calamus
FamilyAcoraceae
Plant TypePerennial herbaceous plant
Mature Size6-12 feet in height
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeMoist, boggy soil, but can tolerate a range of conditions
Bloom TimeLate spring to early summer
Flower ColorYellow-green
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 4-10
Native AreaEurope, Asia, North America

For a touch of verdant beauty in shaded areas, consider the sweetflag grass. This semi-evergreen grass forms dense, grassy clumps with slender, arching foliage in shades of green or variegated with white stripes. Sweetflag grass typically grows between 6 and 12 inches tall, making it an excellent choice for edging, rock gardens, and containers. It thrives in moist, well-draining soil and partial to full shade, adding a lush, naturalistic touch to any shaded garden area.

Conclusion:

Ornamental grasses are a versatile and low-maintenance addition to any landscape. From towering, dramatic varieties to compact, tidy options, these grasses offer a range of textures, colors, and shapes to suit every gardening style. Whether you’re seeking a focal point, a softening element, or a touch of movement and rhythm, there’s an ornamental grass that can enhance the beauty and interest of your outdoor space. Embrace the graceful swaying of these natural dancers, and let them bring a touch of elegance and tranquility to your garden oasis.

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