Specimen Ornamental Grasses

Cortaderia selloana ‘Rosea’ (syn. ‘Rosa Feder’) – Pink Pampas Grass is actually incredibly beautiful, the only problem being that it is much more tender than the species. The silvery-pink plumes literally gleam in the morning sun, standing high above the clumping evergreen foliage. Growing 6-9′ tall, place this cultivar in a sunny sheltered location with well-drained soil. Hardy to zone 8.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’ – The horizontal gold bands of ‘Strictus’ are truly eye-catching, and this warm-season grass retains this pattern even when dormant – although it is more subtle. Porcupine Grass also has a more upright habit (6-8′ tall with a slight flare on top), unlike the arching ‘Zebrinus’ which just flops. The late summer flowers open with a pink tinge, fading to silver. Hardy to zone 5.

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ – An erect cool-season grass with a vertical growth habit that doesn’t take up too much ground space. This 2001 Perennial Plant of the Year tolerates a wide variety of soil conditions and features greenish-pink plumes that shift to golden-brown, finishing as thin upright buff seedheads. Grows 5 to 6′ tall and is hardy to zone 3.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Rotsilber’ (syn. ‘Red-Silver’) – The name says it all for this cultivar of Japanese Silver Grass, as the reddish-silver plumes are often the star attraction of the early autumn garden. Growing 4 to 5′ tall, the plumes sit over large symmetrical clumps of deep green blades with prominent white midribs. The foliage also turns reddish-orange in fall and has dormant appeal. Zone 5.

Cortaderia selloana – This evergreen perennial features sharp-edged bluish-greenĀ  foliage and bold feathery white plumes on tall, slightly arching stems. Pampas Grass plumes were the quintessential cut flowers in 1970’s decor and the species is making quite the comeback as a specimen landscape plant. That said, individual clumps are capable of growing 8 to 10′ tall and up to 5′ wide, so be sure to leave them enough room to grow. Zone 7.

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