Ornamental Grasses

Perennials 101, Perennials for Special Purposes

Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ was the Perennial Plant Association’s 2014 Perennial Plant of the Year™.


To see a complete description of our ornamental grasses, simply click on its Botanical Name.

Cool-season grasses begin growing in early spring and slow down or go dormant during the heat of summer. Some of these grasses tend to look a bit scruffy during July / August and may need a trim. Cool-season grasses do best in areas with cooler summers and low humidity.

Warm-season grasses wait until the weather warms up before they begin to grow. Most stand up very well to heat and humidity and grow best in areas with long, hot summers.

Ornamental Grasses Main Feature Climate Hardy to Zone Height Clump Forming
Acorus gramineus ‘Variegatus’ (Sweet Flag) Yellow striped tufts, Prefers wet soil 6 1 ft yes
Arrhenatherum bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ (Bulb Oat Grass) Soft mounds of white striped leaves C 2 1.5 ft yes
Briza media (Quaking Grass) Delicate, heart shaped flowers C 5 1.5 ft yes
Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ Bold vertical clump. Early flowers C 4 4-5 ft yes
Calamagrostis arundinacea ‘Overdam’ Striking variegation, upright habit C 5 3-4 ft yes
Carex buchananii (Leather-Leaf Sedge) Unusual, cinnamon-colored mop 6 2 ft yes
Carex comans ‘Bronze’ (Bronze Hair Sedge) Even floppier than C. buchananii 6 1 ft yes
Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats) Seed heads look like a fish mobile W 5 3 ft no
Deschampsia caespitosa ‘Bronzeschleier’ (Hair Grass) Tall, airy flowers over low mounds C 4 4 ft yes
Elymus arenarius (Lyme Grass) Bright gray leaves, drought tolerant W 4 2.5 ft no
Festuca glauca ‘Skinner’s Blue’ Blue-gray clumps of soft, thin foliage C 2 1 ft yes
Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ The bluest Festuca, spiky habit C 3 1 ft yes
Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (Golden Hakonechloa) Adorable habit, brilliant gold colour 6 2 ft no
Helictotrichon sempervirens (Blue Oat Grass) Blue-gray, very spiky mound C 4 3 ft yes
Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ (Japanese Blood Grass) Leaf tips are bright red all season W 5 1.5 ft no
Juncus effusus ‘Unicorn’ (Spiral Rush) Tight spirals of dark green reeds 4 2.5 ft no
Luzula sylvatica (Greater Wood Rush) Tolerant of dry shade, low clumps 5 1 ft yes
Milium effusum ‘Aureum’ Golden foliage, shade tolerant C 5 1 ft no
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ (Maiden Grass) Narrow leaves form a tall airy fountain W 5 5-6 ft yes
Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens (Maiden Grass) Bright red fall colour. White plumes W 5 4-5 ft yes
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Silberfeder’ (Maiden Grass) Tall, silvery plumes through fall W 5 6 ft yes
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’ (Maiden Grass) Unusual yellow bands across leaves W 5 6 ft yes
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’ (Maiden Grass) Arching mound of cream striped leaves W 5 5 ft yes
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Yaku Jima’ (Maiden Grass) A dwarf form of ‘Gracillimus’, above W 6 3 ft yes
Phalaris arundinacea ‘Feesey’s Form’ (Ribbon Grass) Leaves emerge pink, green and white C 2 2-3 ft no
Phalaris arundinacea ‘Picta’ (Ribbon Grass) Clean, green and white leaves. C 2 2-3 ft no
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ (Fountain Grass) White fuzzy-bear plumes in fall W 5 2 ft yes
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’ (Fountain Grass) Near black plumes in fall W 5 3 ft yes
Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ (Purple Fountain Grass) Purple leaves, nodding fuzzy plumes W 9 3 ft yes