Ornamental grasses have become a popular plant for people to use in landscapes and gardens. According to the Smithsonian web site, ornamental grasses have a variety of important uses. For example, they can be used for erosion control, space barriers, wildlife shelters or as background to a flowering plant. Ornamental grasses are also generally low-maintenance plants which and can grow in a wide variety of conditions.
Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) is an upright perennial ornamental grass, which reaches 4 to 6 feet tall at maturity. Once it is planted, the grass spreads very quickly. The plant blooms in the months of August and September. According to the University of Illinois Extension web site, big bluestem turns a light brown to bronze colour during the fall and remains this colour into the winter.
Big bluestem grows best in moist well-drained soil. However, the plant has a deep root system, which allows it to survive in hot, dry climates, too. It is hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9.
Side Oats Grama
Side oats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) is an ornamental grass native to North America. It is grey-green in colour and produces red flowers from July to September. At maturity, it will reach 2 to 3 feet in height.
According to the University of Minnesota web site, it is a very hardy plant and can tolerate dry slopes and poor soils. It is hardy to Zone 3.
Feather Reed Grass
Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora) is an upright plant that grows together in clumps. At maturity, it will reach about 3 to 5 feet in height. The plant generally flowers in June and July, producing reddish-white flowers. According to the University of Illinois Extension, the grass tolerates a wide range of conditions, from sun to light shade. It can also survive in dry climates, although in these conditions the grass tends to be shorter. Feather reed grass is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.
Japanese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis) is native to eastern Asia, and has since become a popular ornamental grass in North America. It reaches 2 to 10 feet in height at maturity. Once it has matured, the grass is known to spread easily and quickly. It prefers full sunlight, but will tolerate a wide range of conditions, including drought. It is hardy in Zones 4 to 5.
Ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea) is native to the north temperate regions. It is green in colour and produces white to pale pink coloured flowers in early summer. At maturity, it will reach about 1 to 3 feet in height. According to the University of Vermont site, it thrives in wet climates, but it will tolerate dry conditions. It can also survive in sun or partial shade. It is hardy in Zones 4 to 9.