Ornamental Grass Types

Ornamental Grasses serve many purposes within different landscapes. Whether you have an area in need of tall and full landscape fillers, a spectacle plant, or a border plant amongst your plant beds – ornamental grasses are great plants to implement into your home or commercial landscape. Let’s touch a bit on the differences each each of the following types of Ornamental Grasses.

Fountain Grass

Fountain Grass plants provide many different colors of foliage, dependent on the variety. Featuring soft plumes of seeds, Fountain Grasses are typically used as border or spectacle plants amongst landscapes, but provide more than just a pretty plant to look at outdoors. The plumes and foliage can be cut and used in floral arrangements, especially for weddings and formal events. These medium-large plants are wonderful as singular additions to your landscape or as numerous plants together to create a wall of sorts.

Enjoy Fountain Grass in many different shades of colors and and varying sizes year round! Although in most zones this plant’s foliage dies back close to its roots, its foliage can still be appealing! Featuring light tan or darker brown foliage during its off-season, your yard will have accent plants — even in the dead of winter. Bonus: save the plumes by hanging them in boughs in a cool, dark space until fully dry and use for accent decor.

Switch Grass

Switch Grass features hundreds of thin stems with light and airy textured plumes. If your landscape is full of large or bold appearing plants or even sharp edges like rocks, Switch Grass is an incredible medium sized contrast plant to add in! Softening the landscape by adding Switch Grass will be sure to make any gardener swoon when admiring their surroundings. Used as border plants or as singular spectacle plants, this is a plant that should be in almost every landscape.

Use Switch Grass for aesthetic purposes, erosion control or both! Even better, your small local wildlife will use its foliage for cover as the plant provides a tight space that is dense and easy to hide in. Drought tolerant, your yard and wallet will thank you!

Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese Forest Grass is a fantastic addition that adds a waterfall-like effect to your landscape. Colors vary from bright green, variegated, golden and even medium green with red. This is a slower growing, medium-large perennial that continually looks even better than it’s previous season. Spreading by rhizomes, the Japanese Forest Grass will fill in its surroundings and cascade its foliage in abundance. Thriving in environments that feature afternoon shade, this is a great filler plant that will make the shadier areas of your landscape pop.

Uses for Japanese Forest Grass include border planting, ground cover and shade garden fillers. Emphasizing on its bright and bold colors, this plant will create an aesthetically pleasing addition.

Sedge Grass

Sedge Grass is a smaller, more compact variety of ornamental grass. Colors vary from deep maroon, bright green, golden and variegated. Typically found in border planting, Sedge Grass is a staple to many landscapes. You’ll typically find it planted amongst smaller perennial flowers along walkways or atop retaining walls. Sedge Grass is a quick growing plant that fills in nicely, especially in a newly planted landscape.

Border planting and ground cover are the two primary uses with a landscape, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other uses! Sedge Grass is commonly used to make rope and many different textiles. Its usage has even been found in baskets, woven from the leaves and rhizomes. Due to its quick growth, it’s easy to see why this plant is widely used for these purposes.

Egyptian Papyrus

Egyptian Papyrus is commonly found in bogs, woodland settings and amongst water gardens. A lover of moist and rich soil, this medium-large plant thrives alongside water sources. The foliage features reed-like stems that are typically the thickness of a pencil or larger! On top of these stems are numerous branch-like leaves, creating the unique foliage that resembles a firework. You can quite literally add a “pop” to your landscape. This is a plant that also loves warmer climates, so be sure to plan accordingly when adding to your landscape.

Although Egyptian Papyrus’ unique foliage earns itself a place in many settings, its fiber has a long history of usefulness. Native to Africa, this plant has long served its purpose in writing parchment. Ancient Egyptians treasured the use of the plant’s fiber by cutting open the stems, harvesting the pulp and mending it together to create paper on which many important writings were written upon. Planting Egyptian Papyrus is not only for its aesthetic purposes outdoors, but can be brought in with use in floral arrangements as well!

Carex Grass

Carex Grass features a medium growing habit that is great for border planting, group planting and container planting. Colors range from a medium green to robust red to numerous variations of variegated varieties, this is a wonderful fountain of color to add to your landscape! If Carex Grass looks familiar to you, it is because Sedge Grass is a part of the same genus.

So what makes Carex Grass stand out? The height of this plant ranges anywhere from 12”-36”, depending on the variety, whereas Sedge Grass typically ranges from 10”-16”. This ornamental grass thrives in full or partial shade, providing the area in which it resides with beautiful colors.

With its drought tolerance, quick growth and dense growing habit, Carex grass is widely used for ground covers and living mulch within areas that are sparsely planted. This plant is also used for  erosion control along hillsides in shady areas. It’s benefits are numerous and will be pleasing to look at!

Ornamental grasses come in many different forms, textures, colors and even uses. Although there are so many more varieties that we can touch on, we hope this provides you with the knowledge needed to best plant out your landscape. We hope you thoroughly enjoy planting these gems in your happy space!