7 Grasses To Grow
Carex buchananii ‘Firefox’ (Leatherleaf Sedge) from Jelitto Seeds
This unusual sedge features intense fox-brown to reddish foliage, which contrasts beautifully with silver-foliaged plants such as artemisia or perovskia. It has a strictly upright habit and is more winter-hardy than the typical form. ‘Firefox’ blooms in late summer-early fall and reaches 24 inches tall when in flower. It is an excellent choice for borders, meadows, rock gardens or containers in full or partial sun.
Milium ‘Flashlights’ (Golden Millet Grass) from PanAmerican Seed
Eye-catching chartreuse leaves highlight this grass — the first variety for shade in the Color Grass Collection. The bright foliage and mounding, semi-arching habit make this a standout at retail and a premium filler accent plant that lights up shady mixed combos and borders. It shows the best color in the spring. This popular variety is now supplied in easy-to-sow multi-seed pellets.
Phormium ‘Blondie’ from PlantHaven
‘Blondie’ features narrow, strongly arching leaves with a creamy yellow midstripe and green margins that will brighten dark areas in the garden. It has a tight, clumping habit, but the foliage arches and cascades, making it a beautiful choice for containers and mass plantings. At maturity, ‘Blondie’ reaches 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Hardy to USDA Zone 8, it can be treated as an annual further north.
Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ (Fountain Grass) from Proven Winners
‘Fireworks’ is a new addition to the Graceful Grasses collection and was chosen for its color, texture and performance. ‘Fireworks’ is a pink-and-white variegated purple fountain grass that prefers full sun and has a strong upright, arching habit. This variety will reach 24 to 36 inches tall and is sure to add strong fall interest to any landscape. It is a good choice for a mass or specimen planting or as a centerpiece in mixed containers.
Calamagrostis brachytricha (Korean Feather Reed Grass)
from Walters Gardens and others
This Asian native is a warm-season grass that produces fluffy, bottlebrush plumes from late summer through early fall. It grows to 4 feet tall. Perhaps best of all, this grass is shade tolerant, a rare trait for a large flowering grass. It also grows very well in full sun where the habit will be tighter and flowering will be more profuse. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9.
Sisyrinchium angustifolium ‘Lucerne’ (Lucerne Blue-eyed Grass) from North Creek Nurseries and others
A native to Wisconsin prairies, this long bloomer makes a great edging or accent plant and looks wonderful in rock gardens and meadows, as well. Designated the 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association, ‘Lucerne’ has blue-violet, star-shaped flowers with a bright-yellow eye. Hummingbirds, bees and butterflies find it irresistible, but deer and pests are not interested. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Nova’ (Oglesby)
This beautiful selection of ‘Zebrinus’ is easily recognized by its yellow horizontal bands and columnar habit. ‘Nova’ is slightly more compact, forming upright clumps 4 to 5 feet tall with flower plumes adding an additional 1 to 2 feet in late summer. ‘Nova’ is a good specimen plant and is effective in groups, massed or as a screen.