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Planting Ornamental Grass

Author Teresa Odle Published 11-14-2020

Ornamental grasses come in many names and forms, and gardeners in most growing zones can find attractive ornamental grasses to grow in natural landscapes, pots or in groups as screens and borders. Choose a spot for your ornamental grass that has well-draining soil and some sun. The amount of sun needed depends on the specific grass.

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Also consider how your grass will look in fall and winter. Ornamental grasses work well for erosion control. Their dried stems and seeds add winter interest when they blow with the wind or poke out of a bank of snow. Dig a hole at least twice as large around as the plant's pot.

What You Need To Plant Ornamental Grass

Have a shovel handy to dig the hole for your landscape ornamental grass or a hand shovel to dig in a container. Keep the hose or a water pail nearby to water the hole before placing the new grass into the ground. Add some compost to the soil if it has poor drainage.

You also might need a tape measure or some way to determine spacing of your plant. Consider its mature height and size when selecting a spot.

Where to Plant Ornamental Grass

Aside from sun exposure, soil drainage and mature size of the grass, gardeners should know the growth habit of the ornamental grass they choose. Some grasses spread, or run, through rhizomes. This can help fill in between other plants and seldom causes problems. If you want a tidier look, though, you should instead choose an ornamental grass that grows in a clump and does not spread or be ready to divide the running grass every few years.

When planting an ornamental grass, place the plant no deeper in the new hole as it was in the pot it came in.

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Ornamental Grass Spacing

Most ornamental grasses need no support, but placing tall ones before a fence, wall or building gives them some support and generally looks good, since this often is the spot at the back of flower beds. Space most ornamental grasses a distance equaling at least half of the mature size (diameter or width) from the wall and other plants.

Ornamental grasses make interesting low borders or screens when planted in groups of 3 or more. If you plan a "border" or similar effect, you will want to space the center of the grasses evenly apart. Space the grasses at least their full diameter apart from center to center.

Steps To Plant Ornamental Grass

Step 1. If necessary, loosen or lightly till the soil before planting.

Step 2. Add organic matter to ensure the ground drains well.

Step 3. Dig a hole about twice the diameter of the pot the plant comes in and a little deeper, loosening the soil around and below where the plant's roots will go.

Step 4. Water the hole and let some of the water seep through the soil.

Step 5. Fill the hole in and lightly compress the soil. 

Step 6. Water the area again.