Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 21 replies

Dordogne Damsel

Hi there, 

I am looking for a good strong ornamental grass. It is to be put in a container to go on the patio next to the pool. It is a very hot sunny spot, sun on it most of the day. Conifers and other hedging means it's a sheltered spot. (in France, so 30 degrees is normal). 

It needs to be OK with getting splashed with pool water and I really don't want bits dropping off everyday and ending up in the pool. Also, don't want it growing too fast and outgrowing the container. 

I have seen some at a local lake, they have used it to create a walk through down to the beach area, it is a lovely bright green and nice and sturdy. However, I have no idea what it is called. 

Would be very grateful for any advice on what to look for and if possible where to get it from. Am happy to grow from seed if necessary, not looking for an instant fix. 

Many thanks.


..I grow Fargesia mureliae 'Simba' in a large container... it's very hardy, although can look a little tatty in winter... drought tolerant but enjoys a good watering to green it up should it start to dry out...   I don't notice too many leaves on the ground, they tend to drop into the container... small leaves in any case...   I've had it in this pot for a few years now...I think I repotted it once from a smaller one... but it's very compact...

.some people think of it as a type of bamboo rather than a grass, so maybe not for you..but something to consider perhaps...

Dordogne Damsel

Thank you, looks interesting, something to consider. 


Have a look at penisetums and New Zealand phormiums.  they come in interesting colours other than green so would stand out against your conifers.   neither will cope outside if your winters are very cold so you'll need to mpve them into shleter if you go below -5C.

I shouldn't think chlorinated water would be good for any plant.


I grow lots of ornamental grasses.  

Miscanthus  varieties are worth checking out..........tall, sturdy (mine lasted throughout those horrific wimter storms) and they "shimmer"

Forget bamboo......please.  

Miscanthus Morning Light has delightful narrow variegated foliage and flowers from late summer.  Fountain-like to 5 or 6 feet.  Miscanthus variegatus has bright white and green foliage, wider leaves amd taller than Morning Light. Superb next to purple foliage.  Miscanthus Gold Bar and Zebrinus have  gold horizontal bands across the leaves.....lovely.  There are miscamthus with pink, red and beige flowers.  All stand well over winter.....undamaged by those horrific winter storms.  Miscamthus are better with some added moisture.

Calamagrostis is as tall with flowers now until autumn. Eye catching flowers.  Overdam is a variegated version.  Both are upright sturdy plamts.  

Panicums too.    Shenandoah is esp good.  Reddish touches to leaves and cute button flowers in late summer.  Heavy metal too is good.  Both are upright, tall and sturdy 

Stipas too...gigantea is huge,,prob too big for a pot....but Tennuissima is delightful and evergreen with billowing flowers all summer.  Great in a pot at about 2 to 3 feet.

Carex comans bronze thrives in dry comditions and makes a mound of foxy red this.  Buchanii is darker red and upright and taller to 3'.

Elymus magellanicus is the bluest plant you will see.  Wonderful mid height evergreen blue grass.  Festucas have blue foliage too but smaller. 

Carex testacea is great.  Olive coloured evergreen folkage ...needs reasonable moisture....amd superb in terracotta pot.  

Hachonecloa is the classiest of all grasses.  Deciduous yellow mounds with red and pink and orange touches.  I grow several of these in the ground amd in containers.  A plant seen at the grandest of gardens.  

Helictorrichon is another blue grass.  4' tall and beige/blue flowers

Hordeum jubatum is easily grown from seed, short lived perennial grass with a kaleidoscope of flower colours.  This is sooooooo eye catching.

Imperata red baron is fantastic.   Leaves now turning blood red.  Will be posting pictures of this soon.

Uncinia uncinia rubra is evergreen maroon red grass.  Great winter festure

Annatherum bulbosum is almost white.  Love this one too.  Brightens up the winter garden.

Bowles golden grass is brilliant.  Deciduous but yellow throughout.  In spring and early summer delightfufly yellow flowers add lovely movement.

Pennisetums are mid height too.  Deciduous but lovely summer flowers. Villosum has huge caterpillar white fluffy, swaying flowers.  I also grow a tender variety called Rubrum but this will not survive past the summer outdoors.

Look, loads more.  Better than any bamboo

Careful. You will get hooked on grasses 



Dordogne Damsel

Wow, you are most definitely the 'go to' expert on grass. Thank you so much! I am scared to death of bamboo, have inherited one in the garden and battling to lose it - or at least reduce it by at least half. 

Where would you suggest I buy the grasses from, are they easy from seed or do you recommend buying plants? I am in France and not particularly near any good nurseries so using internet. Seeds are obviously easier for delivery. At least now I have some names to go on I might be able to source them over here.

I have actually found a Miscanthus at the back of an overgrown flower bed I am clearing today, how do you go about getting cuttings?

Once again thank you, will send you a picture once we get going.  


You can easily divide the miscanthus - they have quite fleshy roots.


Miscanthus are very hardy but all mine tend to like moisture so might be unhappy in pots where they can get too dry.  You can usually split clumps of grass in spring to propagate them.  They tend to sulk if done in autumn.

This company does some lovely grass seeds and some great perennials and veggies too.  Just click on grasses to see the choices -



Salino I understood it, the member asked for an 'upright' grass, most of those listed Verdun, nice as many of them can be, are either floppy or cascading...or die down in winter...also it should be pointed out that you garden in south west Cornwall, whereas the member probably has a much different climate to contend with...both winter and summer...

Dordogne Damsel

Hello again, I will give you a bit more information if that helps with advice; climate here is early spring (from February can be T shirt weather), long hot days in summer 30- 40 degrees, but we do have a lot of thunders storms and heavy rain every week or so, so not completely parched. The autumn goes until late November but December and January can be very very cold, snow usually. 

I want to use the grasses in pots to sit alongside (but not immediately next to) pool, running down the back of the terrace, using them to offer a bit of relief from the bright reflection of the patio and water, and perhaps a little bit of a screen (we are going to have a B&B here eventually when I tame the garden) between guests. They will be quite close to the sunbeds so don't want long dangling ones. I am going to put them in quite large pots (50 - 70 Litre perhaps) and will obviously water and feed them as required.

I will go to the lake later and take a photo of the ones I saw there that I really liked and maybe someone can identify them.

In the meantime, I have taken some pictures of grasses I have discovered in the garden here. They don't look very well and do need some attention, they are on my never ending list of tasks. Some identification and perhaps a guide as to their care needs would be most welcome and helpful.  

You are all so helpful, it is wonderful to have such a font of knowledge at my fingertips, I am learning so much everyday. 






Maybe you have seen  stipa tenuifolia near the lake? There is a plant and seed catalogue you can get here in France and also order online.  The name of the company is Graines Baumaux. Worth looking at for all sorts of things.

Salino,,all the miscanthus,,Calamagrostis, elymus,, Imperata, buchanii, stipas, fescues, helictotrichons are, most  definitely, upright grasses. Will post pics.  However,,I am trying to tempt Jap3 Jacqui to also try some of the mound and cascade varieties too.

I sourced grasses years back from various on line suppliers as 9 cm plants.  Locally there are little nurseries too that I manage to get plants from Jap3 Jacqui.  Try on line.


..sure.. no problem... although my experience of some Miscanthus is that the flower heads on some can flop about especially when wet.. as does flowerheads of Calamagrostis brachytricha - Korean feather grass.. which I love but it's a bit unstable... Helictotrichon flowers also flopped about for me so I got rid..didn't like that..

the most upright Miscanthus I've tried is one called 'Ghana'...the flower heads are dead straight up, a bit like the Karl Forster grass...about 4 foot with red foliage in autumn... although my favourite is the one I grow called 'Kleine Fontaine'... which is fairly stable if divided each 3 years or so... and it does epitomise a fountain when in full flush.,..

..still, for pool side planting I prefer something evergreen and non-flowering... which is why I prefer dwarf Fargesia...which is essentially unfussy and trouble free.. as flowerheads on grasses can get a bit messy I find... however the cascaders are quite nice I agree... Hakonechloa aurea is gorgeous isn't it..?

..can't identify those grasses for the member...maybe someone else can.. but unable to enlarge the photos which makes it a bit difficult unless you're a specialist..and I'm certainly not one of

Dordogne Damsel

Have uploaded again, maybe a bit bigger (maybe). I'm no expert either. 





Dordogne Damsel

This is a picture of the grass I am looking for - it is an old pic - 2012, the grass is now above head height and very beautiful, lovely bright green colour and neat and tidy. Didn't manage to get there today, busy in garden fighting with Colorado beetles, nettles higher than me and the dreaded bamboo! Will try and add close ups soon as fit a bike ride over there in.Thanks for looking.



Will post some pics of mine starting with Imperata in a day or two.

Jap3 Jacqui, that walk through grass by the lake to the beach, I'm sure it will be a variety of miscanthus.

Miscanthus is widely planted down here.....for a mile or so a riverbank locally is planted with miscanthus.  The sound of it in late summer  is magically eerie.  It "whispers" and echoes in the slightest breeze.  wonderful.  

Although individual grasses cannot provide this sound they do still whisper, they shimmer, they sway and they provide vertical accents to enhance any garden.  Not so impressive in a container they will still look good 

Dordogne Damsel

Thank you.will definitely be looking out for it. Lovely to hear your enthusiasm!


Yes, miscanthus sacchariflorus.....very vigorous.   But for your requirements go for garden hybrid as already mentioned


..the top two blue foliage plants in containers might be Elymus hispidus... the 3rd photo might be Stipa arundinacea...the sunshine brightening the foliage there quite a bit... the 4th one I couldn't guess....   the grass along the path does look like a Miscanthus but there are many named varieties of this...  some better than others... I've grown quite a few and my favourites are 'Kleine Fontane'.. 'Flamingo'.. and 'Punktchen'...  loads more to choose from if this is what you like...

..don't buy one called's quite invasive... at first glance I thought that was the one in your photo...

Agree about Flamingo, Salino.  One of the best for flower colour, almost red at times.