Sassy Grasses

Ornamental grasses are the late season heroes of the garden. Just as the profusion of summer blooms begin to fade, grasses bring new interest to the landscape.

There are some grasses we like for their reliability in foundation, form and structure in the landscape. There are others we like simply because they are a bit sassy!

We’re sharing our sassiest grasses picks to bring some unexpected fun and texture to the garden:

Quaking Grass

Briza Media

This herbaceous perennial grass has a shapely form and gracefully arching stems of erect green leaves to provide color throughout the season. In spring, showy plumes of chartreuse hop-like flowers on airy panicles rise above the foliage til early summer. By mid-summer, purple seed heads have formed and will fade to tan over time, but are displayed in abundance until mid-fall. We think this grass has sass because it lives up to its name, with both the flowers and seed heads “quaking” on their stems with the slightest breeze, creating interest in the garden with their unique movement.

Gracillimus Maiden Grass

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’

The most popular selection of the maidens, and deservedly so…With graceful form, in an upright mound of fine green foliage, this variety features dainty plumes of pink flowers that can take it to heights of 6′ tall, creating subtle, yet bold curbside impact from late summer til early fall. With violet seed heads appearing on her plumes around mid-fall, this is a grass that remains attractive from summer right through winter.

Morning Light Maiden Grass

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’

The name alone invites peace and serenity, but do not be fooled; this herbaceous perennial earns a place on the sassy list because it boldly defies it’s name. It’s distinctive narrow green foliage with a sharp white edge will also catch the moon light for your moon garden most of the season. By late summer, plumes of coppery-bronze flowers will rise above the foliage to a height of about 4′ tall. Foliage fades to tan in the fall, when creamy white seed heads remain until late winter.

Landscape Attributes

All of the sassy grasses on our list are perennials, meaning in our regional zones 4-6, they will return every year with proper care. They require only occasional maintenance and upkeep. All are appropriate in a minimalistic design, and applicable to full beds, mass plantings, ground covers and naturalist areas.

Check out more of our Ornamental Grass Top Picks, use our Plant Finder to check our full inventory and ask about our Residential & Commercial Landscaping Services for pro consultation. As always our Garden Center staff is available in store to help you make the right selections for your landscape application.

My Pro Tip

We incorporate a wide variety of grasses to meet many requirements of landscape design. Their versatility allows for creating privacy, color, texture, movement, vertical objectives, and year-round interest. Grasses are often used in a minimalist design to achieve a sophisticated look for simple aesthetics, or in true minimalist form to serve a greater purpose, with mindful plantings of native grasses to facilitate wildlife habitats or erosion control.

A favorite is using grasses for cut flower design to enhance bouquets, as dried accents or to create wreaths for home decor, for parties, and to adorn tablescapes during the holidays. Whether you grow your own or find what you can in nature, grasses always add value.

See you at Studley’s!

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