Korean feather reed grass, Calamagrostis brachystricha
Korean feather grass is a clump-forming, upright grass that bears tall, fluffy, silver-grey flowerheads over grey-green foliage. Perfect for growing in the middle of a sunny border, it makes a great foil for more colourful plants. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit.
Height x Spread: 1m x 90cm
A popular ornamental grass used for adding movement to planting schemes, Stipa tenuissima bears plumes of silvery flowers over pale green foliage. It’s perfect for growing in a gravel garden or mixed border. An RHS AGM plant.
H x S: 60cm x 30cm
Blue fescue, Festuca glauca
This compact grass has beautiful silvery blue leaves, complemented by short green flower spikes that gradually fade to straw-brown. Grow it in a gravel garden or container in full sun.
H x S: 30cm x 20cm
Golden oats, Stipa gigantea
Golden oats bears huge, arching stems of oat-like flowerheads above grey-green leaves. It’s perfect for a mixed sunny border. Unlike most ornamental grasses, golden oats is semi-evergreen, so foliage may remain throughout winter. AGM.
H x S: 2.5m x 1.2m
Fountain grass, Pennisetum advena ‘Rubrum’
Fountain grass has striking burgundy foliage with small, purple-red flower spikes in late summer. It looks fantastic planted in a mixed border, among dark-flowered plants such as Allium sphaerocephalon (pictured). Best grown in full sun in well-drained soil. Not fully hardy, insure against winter loss by digging some up to overwinter indoors. AGM.
H x S: 1.5m x 60cm
Feathertop, Pennisetum villosum
Often grown as an annual grass, feathertop bears green-white, cloud-like flower spikes over loose clumps of fine leaves, in summer. Tender, insure against winter losses by growing as an annual or digging up clumps to overwinter indoors. AGM.
H x S: 60cm x 60cm
Pheasant’s tail grass, Anemanthele lessoniana
Pheasant’s tail grass is an evergreen grass, providing year-round colour, movement and structure. Its slender foliage emerges green, but matures to yellow, orange and red over time, reaching a peak in intensity in winter. While predominantly grown for its foliage, pretty flowerheads appear in summer. AGM.
H x S: 1m x 1m
Pampas grass, Cortaderia selloana
Pampas grass is a large, clump-forming evergreen grass, bearing mid-green foliage and large spikes of silver-yellow flowers. Traditionally grown as a focal point in large lawns, it also works well as part of a mixed perennial scheme. AGM.
H x S: 2.4m x 1.2m
Silver grass, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Flamingo’
There are many cultivars of silver grass. ‘Flamingo’ is a tall variety, bearing dark pink feathery flowers in summer. The foliage turns yellow-orange in autumn.
H x S: 1.7m x 1.5m
Purple moor grass, Molinia caerulea
Purple Moor Grass is a British native grass, usually found growing in damp areas but is quite tolerant of drier conditions. It bears clumps of tussocky foliage, from which tall, slender, arching flowers emerge.
H x S: 1.2m x 90cm
Chinese fountain grass, Pennisetum alopecuroides
Chinese fountain grass forms dense clumps of slender leaves, in contrast with purple-green fluffy flower spikes in summer. The foliage turns yellow in autumn and then ages to brown, before dying back.
H x S: 1.2m x 1m
Hakonechloa is a small, ornamental grass which forms little mounds of bright green, strap-like foliage that turn various shades of pink and red in autumn. Delicate sprays of lime green flowers appear in summer. It’s perfect for growing in drifts in a mixed border, underplanting larger perennials, or using in a container display. AGM.
H x S: 35cm x 40cm