Expand Your Designer Grasses Palette

Expand Your Designer Grasses Palette

High fashion isn’t just for the runway. Color sells and sizzles in these sure-to-please varieties. Emerald Coast Growers helped make ornamental grasses mainstream, and they’re loving these new varieties that are anything but. We asked Cheri Markowitz, sales manager and grass guru, for her favorite picks for this season. Kick your grass program up a notch with the latest designer grasses.

Bold Burgundies

Send spring sales soaring with one of the world’s hottest new grasses. Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ is ready for liftoff. This international award winner is striped burgundy, pink, cream, white, green and ruby red on plants up to 36 inches tall. A grand finale of rich red plumes tops off the spectacular foliage. It’s hardy to Zones 9 and 10.

Fire up success with pennisetum ‘Skyrocket.’ Pink projectile plumes sparkle above bright green and pristine white variegated foliage. This fiery, easy-growing, low-maintenance cultivar is a new sport of the highly popular ‘Fireworks.’ It is tender and grows 20 to 30 inches in full sun to shade. ‘Skyrocket’ is hardy to Zones 9 to 11.

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Burgundy Bunny’ blazes with color from summer, when its petite leaves are mainly green with red accents, to fall, when the nearly all-red blades light up the landscape. Ivory cotton tail plumes top off the short stunner, which grows to only 18 inches. ‘Burgundy Bunny’ is great for containers or borders in sun to part shade, and it’s hardy to Zone 6.

Golden Greens

Gracefully arching green-striped gold leaves form a waterfall of color in Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola.’ Its slight upward cascade gives it added movement and texture for even more interest. With a beautiful clumping habit, ‘Aureola’ shines in beds and containers alike. Autumn brings beautiful pink and red tones to mix with the green and gold. Hardy to Zone 5, ‘Aureola’ grows up to 18 inches in sun to part shade.

Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ displays a mane of large, showy chartreuse seed heads, each over 2 inches long and held horizontally. Big and bold, this grama grass reaches heights of up to 36 inches and blooms from early summer through winter. Stems stand tough even through snow, giving interest and color for six to eight months. ‘Blonde Ambition’ prefers full sun and is hardy to Zone 4.

The Natural Look

Put on a real show with the massive fluffy white plumes on Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila.’ Reaching about 6 feet tall, this dwarf pampas grass makes an impact with its arching mid-green leaves and thick stems. ‘Pumila’ makes an unmistakable specimen and gives the added benefits of drought tolerance. ‘Pumila’ loves full sun and is hardy to Zone 6.

Feathertop grass, Pennisetum villosum, lives up to its name with striking feathery, ivory white plumes above bright greenish-gray foliage. The unique flower forms appear in late summer to early fall and also have an extended life, adding great texture to cut and dried arrangements. Reaching up to 30 inches tall, plants prefer full sun and are hardy to Zone 8.

Powerful Purple

Pennisetum ‘Prince’ and ‘Princess’ offer what no other can: foliage that actually deepens in the summer heat, rather than fading out. Both feature much fuller habits and more vigorous growth than others, with the look of phormium but the qualities of pennisetum. Their upright, blade-like foliage doesn’t flop. Blades on ‘Princess’ are slightly thinner and more petite than ‘Prince.’ Leaves come in green with purple margins and a purple midrib, revealing rich purple tones as they unfold. Both also provide winter interest, turning bold beige and holding their shape and habit.

The second generation of ‘Prince,’ ‘Princess Molly’ bears thin, beautiful, deep burgundy leaves but only grows 14 to 20 inches tall. It is an ideal plant for smaller landscapes where color is desired but size is not. Plants have excellent disease resistance and weather tolerance and may be grown across the country. ‘Princess Molly’ loves full sun and won’t flower except in totally frost-free areas.

‘Princess Caroline’ provides brilliant purple foliage on plants that reach a mature height of about 3 feet. It is a shorter version of ‘Princess’ but with better disease resistance, excellent weather tolerance and sturdier growth. Plants will not flower except in totally frost-free areas.

This family adds texture and interest to large mixed containers and landscape beds or planted in sweeps or masses. They love full sun and are hardy to Zone 8.

Meanwhile, the wildly popular Pennisetum xadvena ‘Rubrum’ offers the winning combination of striking burgundy red foliage and foxtail-like plumes that catch the breeze and add interest to landscapes and containers alike. It’s a sun-loving purple fountain grass that reaches up to 5 feet tall. Fast growing and prolific blooming, this tender perennial is everything an annual should be, and it’s hardy to Zones 9 and 10.

Another hot annual grass, P. xadvena ‘Eatons Canyon’ is like a slightly shorter version of ‘Rubrum,’ topping out at less than 3 feet. Vibrant red-brown flower plumes rise above stunning narrow red-bronze foliage. With its finer, greener foliage and dwarf size, ‘Eatons Canyon’ is the star of the show in mixed containers or small gardens.

Rainbow Ready

The ColorGrass series features a ready-made rainbow of colorful species picked for its perfect pot performance. Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’ shoots upright red-bronze foliage with curls at the tips. C. comans ‘Amazon Mist’ cascades a waterfall of silver-green leaves with white undersides. C. comans ‘Bronco’ boasts arching skinny brown foliage. C. flagellifera ‘Bronzita’ shines with wider, more upright bronzy leaves. And Corynephorus canescens ‘Spiky Blue’ kicks it up with a blue-green punk rock shock of color.

Whatever the palette, there’s a color to please. Grab your grasses and go to work!

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Westhoff-Florist Holland combos

July 30, 2016

Pair New Spring Crops With Fresh Ideas For Increased Sales

There are plenty of exciting, new spring crops to consider incorporating into your crop selection. What will set your operation apart is how creative you are about what plants you select, and how you promote them.

Read More
Pleasant View Gardens Savor Edibles

July 22, 2016

Pleasant View Gardens Targets Millennials With Savor Edibles

Taking something as ubiquitous as vegetables and herbs and giving it a fresh new look is no easy task, but Pleasant View Gardens took on the challenge with extensive research and creative marketing.

Read More
Dummen New Columbus Office

July 21, 2016

Dümmen Orange Opens New North American Headquarters In Columbus, OH

The new office, which officially opened during Cultivate’16, supports the company’s vision to be integrated into a vibrant and inspiring community, and provides a bright, modern workspace for its approximately 30 local employees.

Read More
Latest Stories
Westhoff-Florist Holland combos

July 30, 2016

Pair New Spring Crops With Fresh Ideas For Increased Sa…

There are plenty of exciting, new spring crops to consider incorporating into your crop selection. What will set your operation apart is how creative you are about what plants you select, and how you promote them.

Read More
Pleasant View Gardens Savor Edibles

July 22, 2016

Pleasant View Gardens Targets Millennials With Savor Ed…

Taking something as ubiquitous as vegetables and herbs and giving it a fresh new look is no easy task, but Pleasant View Gardens took on the challenge with extensive research and creative marketing.

Read More
Dummen New Columbus Office

July 21, 2016

Dümmen Orange Opens New North American Headquarters In …

The new office, which officially opened during Cultivate’16, supports the company’s vision to be integrated into a vibrant and inspiring community, and provides a bright, modern workspace for its approximately 30 local employees.

Read More
Pollen Free Lisianthus

July 20, 2016

Sakata Seed Develops World’s First Pollen-Free Lisianth…

With no stamen to produce pollen, the new Lisianthus varieties have improved flower durability and the benefit of no scattered pollen that can cause staining of flowers and machines.

Read More

July 19, 2016

17 New Vegetable Intros For Greenhouse Production

New varieties of edibles introduced at 2016 California Spring Trials offer something for every type of gardener, from the beginning do-it-yourselfer to the hardcore, heirloom-only type. Check out some of the new varieties we saw at Spring Trials this year that will be available for retail in 2017.

Read More
One Earth Edibles From Peace Tree Farm

July 16, 2016

How To Capture Your Share Of The Edibles Market

At Peace Tree Farm, One Earth Edibles represent healthy living on a healthy planet.

Read More
Terra Nova Nurseries Catalog

July 15, 2016

New Product Catalog From Terra Nova Nurseries Designed …

The new catalog, which made its debut at Cultivate’16, offers easy access to organized genera grouped alphabetically, and also by size, color, habit, top sellers, photography, newest varieties, and USDA horticultural zones.

Read More
Pleasant View Open House

July 8, 2016

Pleasant View Gardens And D.S. Cole Growers Hosting Ope…

The 20th annual event will feature new introductions from Proven Winners, as well as annuals, combos, and Pleasant View’s new Savor Edibles and Fragrants line.

Read More
NatureSweet

July 5, 2016

NatureSweet And Ganfer Partner On Tomato Production

The partnership will add more than 250 acres of NatureSweet greenhouse tomato production over the next three years.

Read More
SunPatiens Sakata Medal of Excellence Feature

June 29, 2016

SunPatiens Earns The 2016 Medal Of Excellence In Market…

With its reputation for excellent garden performance from spring to frost, and as a problem-solver for Impatiens Downy Mildew, SunPatiens has become a “hero plant” that helps gardeners succeed.

Read More
Kelly Norris - feature

June 28, 2016

Kelly Norris: Three Variety Trends That Caught My Eye T…

My reflections on promising new plants, the realities of market penetration, and adding value along the supply chain.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

June 25, 2016

Three Types Of Plant Consumers To Watch

There are three emerging groups of plant consumers that you should be targeting for plant sales in the future, according to Allan Armitage.

Read More
FleuroStar Award Ceremony

June 20, 2016

Begonia Hybrid ‘Miss Malibu’ Takes Home FleuroStar Awar…

The award from Fleuroselect was announced at the Green Inspiration Event in Amsterdam.

Read More
Caryopteris 'Beyond Midnight Bluebeard'

June 20, 2016

Keep The Sales Coming With 16 New Blooming Varieties Fo…

Plants that put on a show from first frost long into fall and offer the color options consumers want for their gardens go a long way toward extending sales further into the season and can help maintain your sales momentum going strong. Check out these 16 new blooming varieties, both traditional favorites and new alternatives, for your fall crop selection.

Read More
'Osaka' Flowering Cabbage (Sakata Ornamentals)

June 18, 2016

Mark Your Calendar For Sakata Seed Trials In August

Sakata has set two dates for its California-based trials: Aug. 15-17 in Salinas, and Aug. 17-19 in Woodland.

Read More
Tomato Congress Logo

June 15, 2016

International Tomato Congress In Mexico Will Focus On G…

The event, which takes place in San Luis Potosi from July 20-22, will feature discussions on production strategies, cost management in protected structures, and optimizing your greenhouse environment.

Read More
Nir Nursery Wax Flower Pot Plant

June 14, 2016

Danziger Reaches Deal To Distribute Nir Nursery Varieti…

With the agreement, Danziger becomes the exclusive distributor of Nir’s product line, which includes cut flowers, foliage, pot, and garden plants.

Read More

June 14, 2016

Dümmen Orange Expands Its Succulent Offerings Through N…

According to Dümmen Operations Director Kate Santos, succulents are an attractive growth category because of their ease of use, shelf life in stores, drought tolerance, and versatility in application.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]