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Best ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses are low-maintenance and can add height, color and texture to your garden. They can be used as groundcover, for erosion control, or as design elements. You can find hundreds of types of grasses available.

Feather reed grass

Check out our favorite ornamental grasses that are both durable and beautiful.

Feather reed grass

Feather reed grass (above) is the most popular of all the ornamental grass. This grass is very low maintenance, tolerates all kinds of weather, and can grow up to 6 feet high. It requires full sunlight and well-drained soil to thrive. The foliage is green and the flowers, which bloom in summer and stay throughout winter, range from silvery bronze to purple.

Japanese forest grass

This low-lying, slow-growing ornamental grass can add color to your garden. This plant only grows a foot high but offers big impact, bringing light and bright color to shady gardens. This grass grows best in partial shade and, like most ornamental grasses, needs well-drained soil. As another alternative, Japanese blood grass is also a colorful choice for your garden. It tolerates most soils and stands about 2 feet tall.

Fountain grass

You are probably familiar with fountain grass. This ornamental grass features a beautiful, arching shape and feather-like plumes. Growing up to 5 feet tall, this mounding plant requires full sun and well-drained soil. For some color, try purple fountain grass, which is actually a rich burgundy hue and grows to 3 feet high.

Fiber optic grass

For something a little different, try fiber optic grass. This grass fits in very small spaces, making it a nice option for container gardens. It can thrive in full sun or partial shade. This ornamental grass grows only 6 inches high and features a fine texture. It’s called fiber optic grass because of its appearance. This ornamental grass, which needs moist soil, features slender blades with ball-like seedheads at the ends, like fiber optics.

Purple millet

Another burgundy-colored favorite is purple millet. These pretty plants feature cattail-like foliage. Millet is incredibly hardy and works well in many climates. It can grow in full sun or partial shade and often reaches 6 feet in height.

Blue fescue

Feeling blue? Add blue fescue to your garden. This compact ornamental grass grows to only a foot high, so it’s a nice choice for container gardens and small spaces. It needs dry soil with good drainage and can thrive in full sun to light shade. This grass features thin blue blades that can add some nice contrast to the other colors in your garden.

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