With many native and exotic ornamental grasses available for sale, it is easy to find a variety suited to most gardening needs. From heat tolerant native grasses to those that cope well in cold wet conditions, they add interest and a low maintenance alternative to other ground cover plants.
Ornamental grass can be a great feature in a garden, widely used as borders, ground covers or they can be grown in pots. With the wide range of Ornamental Grasses now available it is even possible to construct an entire grass garden.
Fountain grass, Mondo Grass and Blue ornamental grass are all favourites, however with many more ornamental grasses to choose from we provide a guide to the best varieties available.
These Grasses are popular for its ability to ‘fill’ areas, provide texture and colour in the border. With both low growing and tall growing varieties available the versatility to add height to the garden border or provide a low growing edge can be obtained with the correct choice of ornamental grass.
In many cases what we call ‘ornamental grass’ is actually not a ‘grass’ as such, but rather a strap leafed plant. ‘Mondo Grass’ for example is actually a member of the Lily Family.
- Mondo grass (Ophiopogon) Perhaps one of the better known ornamental grasses. The popular Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) is low growing to 25 cm and has small lilac flowers. However Mondo Grass also comes in green as well as ltaller growing species. Mondo grass will handle part shade to full sun, and is drought tolerant. Mondo Grass Suppliers
- Japanese Forest Grass or Japanese Temple Grass (Hakonechloa macra) A clumping grass that does well in shaded areas as well as part sun. Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ is variegated, Hakonechloa macra Beni Kaz is red colored.
- Liriope (spicata and muscari). Similar in appearance to Mondo Grass (its related) but with broader leaves.Also known as border grass and turf lily. Liriope has a dense root system so it works well on slopes for erosion control. Liriope Suppliers
- Blue fescue (Festuca glauca) Blue fescue is a clump forming grass with fantastic blue – grey foliage, it does well in full sun to light shade and is another drought and heat tolerant grass. Grows to 25cm. Festuca punctoria or Hedgehog fescue is a lower growing species. Festuca mairei is taller growing, to 70cm while Festuca gautieri grows to only 10cm or so.
- Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica) Grown for its decorative foliage red emerging from green this grass like a moist position. Some reports indicate that it can become invasive, so perhaps keep it in a container.
- New Zealand flax (Phormium) Drought tolerant once established and with lots of species and cultivars now available such as Phormium ‘Bronze Baby’ and Phormium ‘Dark Delight’ we refer to the article on New Zealand Flax.
- Blue tussock grass (Poa labillardieri) Blue foliage drought and frost tolerant, grows in sun or shade and is an Australian Native. Needs to trimmed to shape.
- Chionochloa flavicans is a species from New Zealand, evergreen with large tassels of flower heads from spring through summer. It will reach over a metre in height and will form a clump 1 metre across.