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The Benefits of Ornamental Grasses

Have you considered adding ornamental grasses into your next landscape project?

August 13, 2023

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Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses do more than add beauty to a landscape; they can be a helpful addition as well.

With a wide variety to pick from, there is an ornamental grass to fit any landscape. Proving an excellent way to refine design, ornamental grasses provide depth, texture, movement and variation while being easy to care for. Working these into the landscape, they can seal the deal on any job.

An option with a wide range

When composing a landscape, variety is a necessity. You want to create something that feels complete although it’s made up of a bunch of individual parts. With a wide range of color, size, form and type, ornamental grasses are a great option to fill in any landscape design gaps.

You can find foliage in shades of green, blue, red, purple, variegated, multi-toned, striped, and more. Heights vary too, allowing room for both tall grasses and short grasses to fit in any spot.

Grasses are also quite tolerant of a wide variety of soil conditions, making it usable in most growing areas. Ornamental grasses aren’t picky about pH levels, and some are tolerant of rocky terrain. As long as you have a well-drained environment, they’re often happy with just about any type of soil.

With a wide selection of grasses, you’ll find a hardy selection to fit almost any need. Grasses are a great choice for colder climates since many ornamental grasses don’t need any special treatment in the winter. Based on timing, you may want to pick from warm season grasses or cool season grasses to optimize growth.

Warm season grasses, like Muhly grasses and Switch grasses, should go into the ground before the end of October.

Cool season grasses, like Blue Fescues and Blue Oat Grass will thrive as long as they’re not planted in the summer. They’ll grow in both spring and fall, but need a mild winter and a long cool season to thrive. Given the right conditions, cool season grasses can even be semi-evergreen.

Finding the right place to plant ornamental grasses

There’s an ornamental grass that will thrive best in almost any combination of conditions. This means you can find grasses to suit almost any kind of landscape.

  • When working in full sun, use grasses like Panicums, Feather Reed or Pennisteums. They’re all perfect options.
  • For shaded areas, consider sedges or Hackone grasses.
  • Rushes, such as Juncus, like the water and do well in boggy soils. You can even use them around the edges of a pond

What’s trending in ornamental grasses

Keeping up on the latest trends when it comes to ornamental grasses can be a challenge unless you know where to go for the latest options. SiteOne Nursery makes it easy to get plants that are in demand and find the perfect selections for any landscape needs.

Top picks right now for ornamental grasses include:

  • Portfolio Blue Bayou Pampas Grass creates a graceful backdrop to smaller plantings. Its large, creamy plumes create natural contrast and it is a perfect choice for large containers, pool sides and borders, all while being more compact than traditional Pampas.
  • Shining Star Little Bluestem has transformative foliage that starts off with bright white and green stripes in early spring and moves to hues of pinks and purples throughout the summer. A compact, native grower, it will easily fit into any landscape and is one of the first of its type on the market.
  • Praline Pennisetum is impressive with arching foliage and large flowers that rise up nice and tall. An infertile option, that’s also long-flowering, it’s a great non-invasive grass.

The added benefits of a versatile plant

Besides not being too picky about where they’re planted, ornamental grasses have other key features that make them attractive to anyone looking to revamp their green space.

Putting in a few ornamental grasses within the overall landscape helps create a usable space among the greenery whether looking to have a backyard picnic or simply a green area for play. They add aesthetic value but are low-impact when it comes to care. The grasses will also support wildlife, which can enhance a green space as well.

Ornamental grasses are also very functional plants, helping deal with water management as well as creating a cost effective, decorative option.

Supporting a green infrastructure

Providing clients with a green infrastructure within the landscape offers up a way to naturally maintain the area and keep it thriving. Ornamental grasses play a key role in this process thanks to the very nature of these plants.

The fibrous root system of the grass helps anchor the soil, decreasing erosion and keeping water close at hand for the other plants. Ornamental grasses also help remove pollutants from the water that runs through them.

Managing stormwater naturally

The ability for many ornamental grasses to manage water throughout an area make them an ideal plant to route stormwater through. These varieties of grasses are great plants for creating rain gardens, and mass plantings (over turf grass) can slow stormwater runoff and give water more time to soak into the soil. Thanks again to the fibrous root system of these plants, grasses hold onto water, assisting in nourishing neighboring plants. Less water goes to waste.

Providing a cost-effective way to plant large areas

Ornamental grasses are also beneficial when it comes to planting a large area. Not only are they a cost effective option for mass plantings, but they’re easy to install and establish quickly. You’ll have fewer costs associated with maintenance and replacement when covering large areas with ornamental grasses, and the breadth of options means you can make any space look dynamic as well.

Add dimension to your next landscape project

Creating a dynamic landscape that’s hearty and easy to maintain happens, in part, thanks to ornamental grasses. They’re made to fit into any space, fill any gap and enhance any design for a beautiful green space. To learn more about ornamental grasses and what’s available near you, check out today and download our mobile app.

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