Perennial grasses to grow - Stipa tenuissima

12 perennial grasses to grow

Ornamental grasses add movement and structure to border displays. Browse our selection of 12 favourites.

1

Korean feather reed grass, Calamagrostis brachystricha

Perennial grasses to grow - Calamagrostis brachystachys
Perennial grasses to grow – Calamagrostis brachystachys

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.

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Height x Spread: 1m x 90cm


2

Stipa tenuissima

Perennial grasses to grow - Stipa tenuissima
Perennial grasses to grow – Stipa tenuissima

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


3

Blue fescue, Festuca glauca

Perennial grasses to grow - Festuca glauca
Perennial grasses to grow – 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


4

Golden oats, Stipa gigantea

Perennial grasses to grow - Stipa gigantea
Perennial grasses to grow – 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


5

Fountain grass, Pennisetum advena ‘Rubrum’

Perennial grasses to grow - Pennisetum setaceum rubrum
Perennial grasses to grow – 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


6

Feathertop, Pennisetum villosum

Perennial grasses to grow - Pennisetum villosum
Perennial grasses to grow – 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


7

Pheasant’s tail grass, Anemanthele lessoniana

Perennial grasses to grow - Anemanthele lessoniana
Perennial grasses to grow – 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


8

Pampas grass, Cortaderia selloana

Perennial grasses to grow - Cortaderia selloana
Perennial grasses to grow – 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


9

Silver grass, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Flamingo’

Perennial grasses to grow - Miscanthus sinensis
Perennial grasses to grow – 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


10

Purple moor grass, Molinia caerulea

Perennial grasses to grow - Molinia caerulea
Perennial grasses to grow – 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


11

Chinese fountain grass, Pennisetum alopecuroides

Perennial grasses to grow - Pennisetum alopecuroides
Perennial grasses to grow – 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


12

Hakonechloa macra

Perennial grasses to grow - Hakonechloa macra
Perennial grasses to grow – Hakonechloa macra

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.

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H x S: 35cm x 40cm