Growing Ornamental Grasses

It is ideal to plant majority of the ornamental grasses during the onset of spring to enable them to be well rooted prior to enduring the summer heat. Another reason for doing this is the fact that superior assortment of ornamental grass species is generally obtainable during the spring. In places having a placid or the southern climatic conditions, it is possible to plant the grasses throughout the year. Ornamental grasses that are grown in containers may be planted during summer provided there is sufficient moisture and shade to enable the plants to set in their roots without any difficulty.

Among the two categories of ornamental grasses, you may plant the cool season grasses in the fall because this type of grass actually benefit from starting early in the season. While the growth of the tops may be insignificant when you plant the grasses in the fall, cool season grasses planted during this time of the year allows the roots to get well established before the burst of the spring growth. In effect, this induces by means of more robust and rapidly growing plants during the spring. However, planting the grasses in the fall also has its downsides; for instance, they are faced with hazards of winterkill. When you plant the grasses in the fall you need to ensure their protection from the dehydrating winter winds and also allow them to remain sufficiently moist with a view to shield the plants from shriveling up. A number of grass species that are planted during the later part of the fall may need protection during the cold winter months. Hence, in order to remain safe, you need to plant them during the beginning of the fall.

However, planting ornamental grasses during the summer may also prove to be hazardous, since spells of heat may get the newly grown grasses even before they have had sufficient time to establish themselves. Hence, it is advisable that when you are having a summer plantation, especially when the weather is really hot, cut down the foliage by about 1/4 to 1/3 with a view to avoid any harm to the foliage till the plants get properly established. When you do this, it will help to return fresh foliage quickly. Whenever there is a heat spell, the plants may possibly require continuous moisture with a view to prevent shriveling up.

If you are propagating ornamental grasses by sowing their seeds right away in the garden, it should ideally be done during the beginning of the spring as this will enable the plants to establish themselves prior to the onset of the summer heat. It is also possible to sow the seeds during the summer, but in this case the new plants may perhaps need continuous caring and watering. At the same time, it may be necessary to over-seed the uncovered areas. On the other hand, if you are seeding in the fall or during winter, germination will be slow, so will the new plants take a longer time to establish themselves. Hence, generally fall and winter seeding of ornamental grass is not recommended. However, it may be noted that places where the climatic conditions are mild, some species of ornamental grasses do well to flourish.


In effect, majority of the ornamental grasses is neither persnickety, nor difficult to grow. Usually they need very little or no preparation of soil or specific attention whatsoever. However, this does not imply that the grasses will not have a superior growth when grown in better quality soil. In fact, majority of the grasses enthusiastically accept any type of soil enhancement and reward with augmented vitality and growth.

Generally, ornamental grasses have a preference for any soil that has a rich content of organic substances. However, you need to ensure that there is a proper balance between appropriate concern/ attention and too much stimulus. For instance, excessive nitrogen may possibly result in feeble, droopy foliage, in addition to a diminished resilience to diseases and insects. Therefore, provide your grass with an additional supply of nitrogen by using compost or properly decomposed manure. Nevertheless, when the grasses have already established themselves well, reduce the amount of fertilizers and allow them to get used to a less rich soil.

It is worth mentioning here that the ornamental grasses are able to become accustomed to the existing soils very fast and, hence, often it is not necessary to prepare the soil conventionally. However, particular soil preparation may be needed in a number of conditions to ensure excellent growth. The skill of garden creation allows you to transform the soil in order to make it easier for you to cultivate nearly all plant types. In fact, in some cases it may also be essential to make further fundamental enhancements in the soil. Some grasses, like alpine grasses, need a well drained soil and these types of grasses are likely to gain when you add sand or gravel to the soil. In several places having hot southern climatic conditions as well as in southern clay soils, good quality drainage is necessary to put off rot in the case of cool season ornamental grasses, which are more used to the climatic conditions and the soil beyond north.

Eliminating harmful grasses

It may be noted that any harmful perennially growing grass is the most awful adversary of any type of ornamental grass. In fact, the Bermuda grass (botanical name Cynodon dactylon) is among the most horrible weeds that may come up in any ornamental grass planting. Similarly the Quack grass (botanical name Agropyron repens) usually pesters the landscape gardeners.

Therefore, it is important that you should get rid of the perennially growing noxious grasses prior to planting the ornamental grass of your choice. It should be borne in mind that controlling the running grasses organically may be quite hard. Therefore, you need to make certain that you have got rid of all broken small pieces of roots or stolons that have the aptitude to take root again.

All said and done, this will not only consume a lot of your time, but is also a very tedious and difficult task. When you are in no doubt that the entire grass and their roots have been got rid of, use a garden fork to slacken off the area where you intend to plant the ornamental grass. Subsequently, water the soil properly to make it moist. Allow two weeks time to see if any of the grass pieces you might have missed removing sprouts again. In case there are any, get rid of all hints of the pest grasses and subsequently allow the prepared ground to remain as it is for an additional fortnight to a month to ensure that all noxious and bothering grasses have been effectively removed.

In case there is an acute invasion of the noxious grasses, it possibly will be almost unfeasible to do away with all the unwanted and bothersome grass. In such situations, you may overcome the problem by planting a further insistent and taller grass that is capable of prevailing over the weedy grass that grows to a comparatively lesser height.


Deciding on the spacing or spreading out of planting ornamental grasses may be a collective role of various dissimilar factors - budget, aesthetics as well as how quickly you require covering them. In fact, generally there is no specific rules regarding the spacing of the plants, but it depends on one's individual likings or preference. As far as spacing the plants is concerned, there is nothing as right or wrong. Spreading out clusters of grasses at more distances from one another offers a mound-like appearance that is liked by a number of gardeners. There are other gardeners who prefer the plants to be spaced closer to one another giving rise to a packed appearance. As per a common rule, spread the plants at a distance from each other depending on their eventual height. For instance, you may plant the ornamental grasses that are full-grown when they attain the height of three feet at a distance of three feet from one another. When you are growing ornamental grasses on a slope which require a quick cover, they need to be planted closer to one another with a view to cleave to a gradient or steep bank.

Many people commit a very common error while planting ornamental grasses and that is their failure to comprehend simply how large any plant may grow. One more general mistake is to plant large grasses very close to the pathway. While planting ornamental grasses, always bear in mind the final span of a plant. In fact, planting ornamental grasses very close to one another is considered to be a lavishness for which you need a hefty budget. In case you have a restricted budget, it will actually take some additional time for the ornamental grasses you are planting to clutter up.


For the uninitiated, it needs to be mentioned that ornamental grass plantation is comparatively a very simple method where one is simply required to use the same rules that are applicable in planting any perennially growing garden plant. Simply remember these rules while you are planting ornamental grasses.

An important aspect of planting ornamental grasses is that you ought to try to go with the original soil line of the grass you are planting all the times. At the same time, try to keep away from planting the grasses extremely high or low from the crown. Several types of grasses, particularly when they are still small, will not put up with when they are planted very deep.

The recently planted grasses require to be watered without delay and, also bear in mind that the grasses planted not long back are especially vulnerable to desiccation. It is important to note that if the young grasses have not been watered adequately and are subsequently exposed to the sun on any hot summer day, they may be killed soon - even below an hour.


When you have watered the newly planted ornamental grasses intensely, you need to mulch the plants to enable them to have an optimal growth right from the beginning. You ought to know that mulching is a vital phase in the gardening of ornamental grass. In effect, mulching helps to keep the soil's surface temperature cool during hot weather, retains moisture, suppresses the weeds, in addition to supplying all the essential nutrients to the plants. In addition, mulching also offers some kind of protection from cold during the winter months by shielding the plants as well as the soil. When the surface of the soil is mulched with straw, dried leaves and others, it also offers an eye-catching environment, even as the recently planted ornamental grasses are cluttering up. Several different things like leaves, compost, bark, wood chips and grass cuttings all can be used for an appropriate mulching. It has been found that majority types of ornamental grasses grow in a much improved manner when you provide them with a layered mulch of about two inches to three inches on top of the soil surface.

Ornamental grasses
The families of grasses
How grasses grow
The life of grasses
Growing grasses in containers
Propagating ornamental grasses
Maintaining ornamental grasses
Grasses' pests and diseases


©2002-2023 herbs2000.com