Best Ornamental Grasses for Your Landscape

ornamental grass landscape
ornamental grass landscape

Everybody has a creative side they can tap into for outdoor decorations. One of the more effective ways to do so is with the local grass life. Ornamental Grasses can make the outside of your home stand out with greener vegetation. Before you realize it, you can find beautiful gardens anyone can admire.

However, it would help if you considered how the local climate affects everything. From the amount of water in your soil to the sunlight, you need the right conditions to make anything green. You should also know the right time to trim your vegetation before it gets out of hand. Right before you buy any ornamental products, you should be aware of the basic definitions.

What Is Ornamental Grasses?

Tall ornamental grass refers to tall weeds with an aesthetic value. Most of them are resilient to cold temperatures, which makes them reliable for long-term preservation. They can reach heights from 5 feet tall to 6 feet without any issue, although it allows for a better spread of seeds. The size of these weeds can vary, but most gardeners should trim them occasionally to prevent infestations. You want soil that is well-drained with a full sun. However, some decent-size grass can thrive within moist soil. If you live in areas with extreme temperatures, you can use the grass to make everything stand out more. All you need to do is figure out different types of grass, when you should cut them, how they spread, and which seeds to buy. Follow us for more information on this topic.

Types of ornamental grass

There are several variations of grass you can use for your landscape. Each of them varies based on their foliage, size, and coloration, especially during seasons like the fall. Keep in mind the best conditions for these plants tend to be after the late summer. By doing so, these growing plants can enjoy the full sun and moist soil in the fall.

Blue Festuca glauca

One of the more popular choices is the Blue Festuca glauca, also known as Elijah Blue. It has a smooth texture and grows low on the ground. The blue-green specimen is quite colorful with its foliage, which makes it stand out. In terms of size, it stands out 8-12 inches high. If you like blue plants, this is a reasonable consideration.

Big bluestem

There is also the Big bluestem, which is a tall-growing plant with foliage size over 4 feet tall. The big bluestem grows during warm seasons like the summer. Its leaf blades are a dull green color, while it offers a cluster of flowers that resembles a turkey foot.

Blue grama grass

If you want a non-invasive option for this specific color scheme, try the Blue grama grass. The longevity allows it to survive throughout warmer climates, especially in the Great Plains and Midwestern states. Common in prairies, the turfgrass is resilient to droughts. As a result, there is little water maintenance. Once fall arrives, the color changes to a brownish orange. It stands out among reddish plants, so consider your colors throughout the seasons.

Panicum virgatum

Another grass type is the Panicum virgatum. The metallic blue-green foliage gives it the nickname “Heavy Metal” plant. It turns golden around fall, so keep an eye on the foliage changes. The size varies, but it can go over 5 feet tall. You can also use this for soil conservation and feedstock.

Feather reed grass

You can try out the feather reed grass. The main advantage of this perennial weed is the growing conditions allow it to work within any season, whether the late summer or early winter. You can have an entire set of feather reeds and not worry about weather conditions. It generally reaches anywhere from 3 feet tall to 5 feet tall, so it lacks size in comparison. The seed heads are grain-like in texture. You can purchase this Karl Foerster product on Etsy; Karl Foerster is a popular hybrid of the feather reed grass, known for its quality.

Mexican feather grass

Mexican feather grass grows in selected areas of your garden. The needle grass almost reaches heights of 3 feet tall, which is relatively small in size. Once a native of the southern landscape, the Mexican feather grass can survive well on any hard soil type. There is no flower to look at, but a 3 feet tall garden allows a simple natural appearance.

Pennisetum setaceum

The Pennisetum setaceum is crimson fountain grass native to the continent of Africa. It grows in hot weather conditions, which suit it well for the hot seasons. The Pennisetum setaceum grows well above 3 feet tall, while the flower grows around summer. You need to drain the soil before growing it, but otherwise, it’s perfectly manageable.

Dwarf pampas grass

Dwarf pampas grass, also known as Cortaderia Pumila, are a bright showcase for full sun potential. These offer fluffy white plumes in the middle of the hotter seasons. It can reach anywhere from 5-6 feet tall. If you live in one of the mid-Atlantic states, the Cortaderia Pumila is perfectly safe to put behind white picket fences. The spread is severely limited, which means you don’t have to worry about overgrowing in your yard.

Chinese silver grass

If you want something with size, try the Chinese silver grass. At over 8 feet tall, gardeners enjoy the sheer length it possesses. It’s also widely popular as a barrier for agricultural purposes. You can set it in between other species for a varietal color assortment. Once you get full sun exposure, the silver can truly shine as a decorative object. However, you should be mindful of the seeds. With proper breed management and careful grooming, you can avoid potential invasions.

Dwarf lilyturf

Certain species can attract attention due to vibrant colors, which is why the Dwarf lilyturf is desirable among consumers. While relatively small, the foliage is best characterized by a dark-green color scheme. It requires very low maintenance- you should keep it under the shade to avoid exposure to the full sun. You also want to avoid foot traffic to preserve the dwarf lilyturf, since too much damage causes the petals to fall.

Purple fountain grass

Finally, there is Purple fountain grass. If you like purple flowers, this is one of the best ones to consider. The purple truly stands out well out into the distance, even under part shade. In fact, it does well from the full sun to part shade, which makes growing it versatile. Standing at 5 feet tall, it remains a visual purple beauty. Soil type tends to be moist well, so consider growing it under these conditions.

Do Ornamental Grasses Need To Be Cut Back?

You should only cut back the size well before winter takes place. It’s best to do it during warm seasons. If you want to avoid grass growing over 6 feet before winter, trim them before it happens. Size is a factor to consider, especially when growing in part shade. It’s the most opportune time to receive the full sun directly, which is why grass ends up several feet tall.

Another reason to cut your grass during warmer conditions is that they end up turning brown. With exposure to the full sun, you can expect autumn-themed colors of brown and orange. Growing these types of grass in rural areas makes it look dead without coloration, especially with dryer soil. Trim it well beforehand for better garden growing.

Do Ornamental Grasses Spread?

When growing large areas of grass, keep in mind the scatter. Under windy conditions, these seeds can end up in places you don’t intend for growing. As a result, you can end up with an infestation. The size of these depends on the spread, but it can overwhelm you if you’re not careful.

For this specific reason, not all plants are recommendable. The Cortaderia selloana., otherwise known as the pampas grass, is problematic due to its tendency to spread. These plants scatter seeds across a far distance, which causes them to grow in larger numbers. You can recognize the plant by its flower plumes, which are pink and white; pampas grass also has saw-tooth leaves.

Will Ornamental Grasses Survive Winter?

Low temperatures and a cold atmosphere are detrimental to grass, so be aware of freezing conditions. Grass requires a full sun in order to grow correctly. A full sun allows the grass to absorb nutrients faster, especially in moist soil. It would help if you had a combination of full sun and moist soil to make the most of your grass. Otherwise, growing them in low temperatures is considerably difficult. The soil also loses out on nutrients it needs, making these unfavorable growing conditions. Not every grass needs soil that’s moist well, but the vast majority of them do.

Understanding Zone

You want to maintain plant hardiness to survive adverse weather conditions. For more information, you should look to the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA. According to the USDA zone map for plant hardiness, here are the zones you should be aware of.

pampas grass zone map

Ornamental Grasses Zone 4

Zones 4 has a relatively short growing season, given it’s located in the upper parts of the United States. Temperatures in Zones 4 tend to be -30 degrees. The lack of full sun during seasons makes it difficult for most types of grass. Zones 4 is one of the more frigid weather conditions, which also negatively affects the soil. If you live in a region under Zones 4, you can try to plant blue fescue grass under part shade. The color stands out in winter climates and rocky soil.

Ornamental Grasses Zone 5

Zones 5 are slightly warmer than Zones 4, with a 10-degree difference. If something grows within Zones 5, chances are it can also do the same in higher levels, such as Zones 6. Zones 5 allows switchgrass, which is deep-rooted for warmer seasons.

Ornamental Grasses Zone 6

Zones 6 grows within the northern and central areas of the Midwest. You can expect both warmer and colder temperature conditions. Zones 6 is perfect for fountain grass since it grows well into the four different seasons. The size of the zone is slightly more prominent compared to Zones 5, which makes it ideal for part shade.

Ornamental Grasses Zone 7, 8 and 9

Zones 7 and 8 tend to be on the warmer side, while Zones 9 offer much hotter conditions. You want both warm and cool-season types of grass since temperatures are well above the average. Summer and winter tend to be brutal around these parts, especially in the deep south. Spring is generally the median season for the right amount of temperature.

You can always look up the USDA map on their governmental website for more information. Depending on where you live, you can figure out the temperature regions of your particular state. The website offers plenty of insight for gardeners to thrive in any given location. You can view maps with a zipcode finder, which lets you interact with the local areas. If need be, you can also contact their services page for more information.


What is the best ornamental grass for the front of the house?

When selecting an ornamental grass for the front of your house, there are several popular options to consider. Feather Reed Grass, Blue Fescue, Japanese Forest Grass, Fountain Grass, and Mexican Feather Grass are all great choices. Feather Reed Grass adds elegance with its upright growth and feathery plumes, while Blue Fescue offers a neat and compact appearance. Japanese Forest Grass brings a soft and flowing effect, Fountain Grass offers fine-textured foliage and attractive plumes, and Mexican Feather Grass adds a delicate and airy aesthetic. Consider factors such as space, sunlight, climate, and maintenance preferences when choosing the best ornamental grass to enhance the front of your house.

What is the most popular fountain grass?

The most popular fountain grass is Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’, also known as Purple Fountain Grass. It is highly sought after for its striking and vibrant purple foliage, as well as its long, feathery plumes that emerge in shades of dark purple or burgundy. Purple Fountain Grass adds a dramatic and eye-catching element to landscapes and gardens, making it a favorite choice among gardeners and landscapers. Its popularity is attributed to its stunning coloration, ease of growth, and versatility in various garden styles and designs.

What ornamental grass grows the fastest?

One ornamental grass that is known for its fast growth is Miscanthus sinensis, commonly known as Maiden Grass or Eulalia Grass. It is a vigorous grower and can quickly establish itself in the landscape. Some specific varieties of Miscanthus sinensis, such as ‘Giganteus’ or ‘Gracillimus,’ are particularly renowned for their rapid growth rates.

However, it’s important to note that the growth rate of ornamental grasses can vary depending on factors such as climate, soil conditions, and available resources. While Miscanthus sinensis is known for its fast growth, there may be other grasses that exhibit similarly rapid growth in specific regions or environments. It’s always advisable to research the specific growth habits and requirements of different ornamental grasses to find the one that best suits your needs and growing conditions.


Ornamental greenery takes time to master, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. You need to be aware of your surroundings, so consult the official USDA zone map for guidance. Products with heat regulation tend to survive more extreme weather, especially within the lower parts of the United States. Take advantage of the website so you can get ahead before the next seasonal change. It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all.

Different types of grassy plantlife offer a unique perspective on natural beauty. Many of them have a flowery appearance of various colors, especially during certain parts of the year. You can make your gardening stand out with well-placed grounds. Check out the Amazon products for cheap deals and beginner-level instructions on gardening. Anyone can try it out, so don’t be afraid to explore something entirely new. Go out and turn your outdoor area into a beautiful landscape. You can make a difference in how you approach your gardening, so try out some new techniques.

Rachel Lean
Rachel Lean

Adventurer, loving nature and plants, particularly Pampas Grass. Happy to share with other people the knowledge that I accumulated on the journey of my life.