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...
all-america-selections-new-website-home-page

December 3, 2016

New Mobile Responsive Website From All-America Selections Offers Improved Navigation

All-America Selections has launched a newly redesigned and revamped mobile-responsive website that includes a more attractive design, enhanced search tools, and easier and simpler navigation.

Read More
Sea Breeze Catharanthus combo

December 2, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 2, 2016

Kelly Norris: How The “Me Too” Philosophy Affects Plant Breeding

When you’re selling the exact same thing as everyone else, it’s unrealistic to expect customers to buy only from you.

Read More
Latest Stories
all-america-selections-new-website-home-page

December 3, 2016

New Mobile Responsive Website From All-America Selectio…

All-America Selections has launched a newly redesigned and revamped mobile-responsive website that includes a more attractive design, enhanced search tools, and easier and simpler navigation.

Read More
Sea Breeze Catharanthus combo

December 2, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 2, 2016

Kelly Norris: How The “Me Too” Philosophy Affects Plant…

When you’re selling the exact same thing as everyone else, it’s unrealistic to expect customers to buy only from you.

Read More

November 29, 2016

How Changes In Plant Patent Law Could Affect Your Varie…

There is an ongoing discussion happening among plant genetics companies about the current laws and ethics of plant breeding, and what the future holds for the improved lawful protection of genetics.

Read More
endless-summer

November 29, 2016

Endless Summer Hydrangeas Will Soon Feature New Identit…

Bailey Nurseries, which first introduced the reblooming hydrangea a decade ago, says the new identity will feature a more contemporary look to appeal to current and future gardeners.

Read More
prince-tut-cyperus-grass-feature

November 28, 2016

Growing Tips For ‘Prince Tut’ Cyperus Grass

'Prince Tut’ from Proven Winners’ Graceful Grasses collection is versatile, working well in all container sizes with its columnar habit and dense canopy and filling out well in the landscape.

Read More
Sea breeze combo

November 26, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More
Begonia at Oklahoma State University field trials

November 26, 2016

2016 Oklahoma State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City.

Read More
Petunia 'Tidal Wave Cherry'

November 25, 2016

2016 North Dakota State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.

Read More
Scaevola 'Scala Bicolor Blue'

November 24, 2016

2016 North Carolina State University Field Trials Resul…

Check out the 2016 field trial results at North Carolina State University/J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC.

Read More
2016 Missouri Botanical Garden Flower Trials

November 23, 2016

2016 Missouri Botanical Garden Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO.

Read More
Mitchell’s Nursery & Greenhouse first caught the poinsettia bug in 1996, but the operation didn’t begin trialing the plant until 2004

November 21, 2016

Poinsettia Trials Across The Eastern U.S. To Take Place…

Poinsettia growers interested in keeping up with the latest variety and production trends have the chance to attend university open houses in New Hampshire, Louisiana, and Ohio.

Read More
Coleus 'Main Street River Walk'

November 21, 2016

2016 Michigan State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.

Read More
Field trials at Lucas Greenhouses

November 20, 2016

2016 Lucas Greenhouses Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 Field Trials results for Lucas Greenhouses in Monroeville, NJ.

Read More
Catharanthus 'Soiree Kawaii Coral'

November 19, 2016

Kansas State University 2016 Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trial results for Kansas State University in Lawrence, KS.

Read More
2016 Massachusetts Horticultural Society field trials

November 18, 2016

2016 Massachusetts Horticultural Society Field Trials R…

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley, MA.

Read More
verbena-endurascape

November 18, 2016

All-America Selections Announces Its 2017 Slate Of Vari…

Brokers, growers, mail order, and seed packet companies can purchase these varieties immediately. Retailers and consumers will find AAS Winners for sale for the 2017 gardening season as supply becomes available throughout the chain of distribution.

Read More
Vinca 'Valiant Lilac'

November 17, 2016

2016 Metrolina Greenhouses Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, NC.

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