Ornamental Grasses for Containers

Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ – This brightly variegated form of Japanese Forest Grass grows 12 to 20″ tall, is herbaceous and features attractive autumn tones of pink and red. The shade planter shown is a combination of evergreen sword fern (Polystichum munitum) and Heuchera ‘Blackcurrant’ (with burgundy foliage and silver highlights). Hardy to zone 5.

Carex elata ‘Bowles Golden’ (syn. ‘Aurea’) – This semi-evergreen sedge features brilliant gold foliage (averaging 2′ tall) with fine green margins and requires even moisture at all times to look its best – it is also useful as a shallow water marginal plant. The water bowl shown also features dwarf Papyrus (Cyperus percamenthus), spiral rush (Juncus effusus ‘Unicorn’) and Salvinia, a fine-textured floater. Hardy to zone 5.

Carex flagellifera – Weeping Brown Sedge appears to be more erect as a juvenile specimen (such as the one shown), but as it matures (to 20″ tall) the fine threadlike leaves begin to arch towards the ground. Tolerant of both full sun and light shade, it is reliably evergreen in coastal gardens. The winter planter shown includes Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), Campanula, a golden Calluna vulgaris and some variegated English ivy. Hardy to zone 6.

Juncus effusus ‘Quartz Creek’ – (syn. effusus var. pacificus) – The narrow quill-like green stems of this rush grow to 18″ tall and are ideal for use as a planter centerpiece. It is reliably evergreen and produces insignificant brown tufted flowers. The companion plants shown include Heuchera ‘Amethyst Myst’, Euphorbia ‘Helena’s Blush’, strawflower (Bracteantha ‘Sundaze Flame’) and gold-variegated English ivy. Hardy to zone 6.

Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ – This lovely little (8-12″ tall) golden Sweet Flag has some green foliar highlights and forms symmetrical tufts over time. Reliably evergreen in coastal gardens, ‘Ogon’ tolerates moist soils and also makes a good shallow water marginal plant for ponds. It is used as a backdrop in the featured planter, with Beauty Berry (Callicarpa ‘Profusion’), purple flowering kale, a yellow chrysanthemum and ivy. Zone 5.

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