Annual grasses bring light and movement to border and container displays, for the price of a packet of seed. Sown under glass in autumn or spring, they quickly bulk up into sizeable plants, that can be planted in gaps in the border or used as a foil for more colourful plants. Many of them look wonderful in cut flower displays.
More on growing ornamental grasses:
Annual grasses are easy to grow and many self-seed readily. Browse our list of the best annual grasses to grow, below.
Greater quaking grass, Briza maxima
Greater quaking grass, Briza maxima, is one of the most popular annual grasses to grow. Pale green flowers hang like water droplets from thin stems. It’s the perfect foil for more colourful plants, both in the garden and the vase. Will self-seed readily.
Height x Spread: 50cm x 50cm
Foxtail barley, Hordeum jubatum
Technically a perennial but grown as an annual, foxtail barley, Hordeum jubatum, bears delicate, pink-tinged, barley-like flowers in summer.
H x S: 60cm x 50cm
Bunny’s tail grass, Lagurus ovatus
Bunny’s tail grass, Lagurus ovatus, bears masses of flowers that resemble rabbits’ tails. It’s perfect for adding movement to the front of a border or a container display, and makes a wonderful cut flower.
H x S: 50cm x 30cm
Feathertop, Pennisetum villosum
Another perennial that’s often grown as an annual, feathertop bears feathery flower spikes that add movement and light to a border scheme. Not fully hardy but will usually self-seed.
H x S: 60cm x 60cm
Cloud grass, Agrostis nebulosa
Cloud grass, Agrostis nebulosa, is a stunning annual grass grown for its billowing panicles of tiny flowers, followed by seedheads. It’s especially suited to growing in a meadow setting with plants like scabious, knapweed and lady’s bedstraw. Plants will readily self-seed but seedlings are easy to remove.