Many tall, ornamental grasses are fast growing and offer colourful, low-maintenance options for a lawn or garden. Planting and growing tall grass is relatively easy. Most grasses develop best in full sun and will reach heights of approximately 4 feet to 15 feet or more. Cut the grasses back when they get too high for your garden or after they have seeded. Large grasses add movement, texture, privacy and colour.
Giant Burgundy Fountain Grass
The giant burgundy fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) grows 5 to 6 feet high and spreads about 3 feet in width. This grass offers a colourful punch to a garden. The blades and plumes are a deep burgundy. The grass also moves with the breeze, which brings another element into the garden. This grass can be cut low once a year in autumn. It basks in full sun but will tolerate part shade. It is tolerant of drought, wind and heat.
Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) grows rapidly and will reach about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide. The emerging grass is green but through the summer it turns to a wheat colour and into the autumn it sprouts light grape-coloured plumes. In the fall after it has seeded, cut it back to about 1 foot high. It is tolerant of drought, wind and heat.
This fast-growing grass (Cortaderia selloana) can reach up to 20 feet tall and up to 13 feet wide. In one season it can grow 8 feet. It is native to Argentina and develops best in rich soil in mild climates. The white plumes on this plant are very distinctive and reach 1 to 3 feet in height. Some nurseries no longer sell this plant because the wind can carry its seeds that germinate all over. After the flowers have seeded in the fall, pampas grass can be cut back to about 1 foot high. It flourishes in full sun and is tolerant of drought, wind and heat.
Blue Oat Grass
The blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) is native to Mediterranean regions. It requires well-drained soil, but will thrive with full sun and moderate water. It will grow rapidly to more than 3 feet and sports blue-grey leaves and pale-yellow flowers. It grows year round in mild climates but will turn wheat-coloured with hard freezes. It is tolerant of wind and heat.