Grasses

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Ornamental grasses are unique among garden plants. Responding to the subtle changes of the seasons they can be enjoyed throughout the year. A delightful sight as they emerge in the spring and sway with the summer winds, the showy plumes in the fall hold strong even during the winter snows.

CALAMAGROSTIS acutiflora 'Avalanche'
Plant Photo
Avalanche Reed Grass
height: 4-5'      zone: 4      habit: upright
An upright grass with a white stripe down the center of each leaf blade. It has the opposite coloration of 'Overdam'. Plumes appear in early summer.
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CALAMAGROSTIS acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'
Plant Photo
Feather Reed Grass
height: 3-5'      zone: 4      habit: erect
Thin, green, finely pointed leaves stand erect showing it to be one of the best grass additions for the landscape. Rough to the touch and well suited to small gardens. Golden plumes develop in August.
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CALAMAGROSTIS acutiflora 'Overdam'
Plant Photo
Variegated Feather Reed Grass
height: 3-5'      zone: 5      habit: erect
Green foliage with white edges, finely pointed and rough to the touch. Pinkish plumes appearing in late summer. Tolerates moist to wet soil.
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CAREX flacca 'Blue Zinger'
Plant Photo
Blue Sedge
height: 14-18"      zone: 5      habit: mounding groundcover

Steel blue semi-evergreen foliage that forms a graceful groundcover. Thrives in moist soil but is very drought tolerant once established. Plant in a mass for an impressive groundcover display. 

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CAREX morrowii 'Ice Dance'
Plant Photo
Ice Dance Sedge
height: 12-16"      zone: 5      habit: arching clump
Versatile sedge with white margins on green leaves. Nice groundcover, border or rock garden grass.
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CAREX oshimensis 'Evergold'
Plant Photo
Variegated Japanese Sedge
height: 6-12"      zone: 5      habit: low clump

Creamy-yellow and green variegated semi-evergreen foliage in a tight clump form. Excellent choice for low mass plantings for season-long color. Can tolerate light shade, does best in moist soil.

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CAREX pensylvanica
Plant Photo
Pennsylvania Sedge
height: 6-8"      zone: 4      habit: mounding groundcover

Soft, grass-like, arching mounds of bright green leaves. It is resistant to deer grazing, enjoys dry soil and thrives in either sun or shade. Native.

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CHASMANTHIUM latifolium
Plant Photo
Northern Sea Oats
height: 2-3'      zone: 4      habit: arching clump

Light green foliage changes to copper in fall then to brown in winter. Nodding flat oats arch early in fall and persist well into winter making a most attractive winter skeleton. Prefers well-drained soil. Use in groups. Salt tolerant.

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DESHCHAMPSIA cespitosa 'Goldtua'
Plant Photo
Golden Hair Grass
height: 12-24"      zone: 4      habit: mound

Tufted hair grass dark green foliage and golden yellow flower stalks in July till September. Plant in moist but well-drained, humus-rich soil in partial sun or light shade. Prefers acidic conditions. 

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FESTUCA glauca 'Elijah Blue'
Plant Photo
Blue Fescue
height: 6-10"      zone: 4      habit: low clump

Good blue color all summer. Well-behaved grass for rock gardens, edging or in mass for a groundcover, use on slopes or level ground. This soft spiky grass needs well-drained soil and will usually die in clay. Salt tolerant.

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HAKONECHLOA macra 'All Gold'
Plant Photo
Japanese Forest Grass
height: 8-14"      zone: 5      habit: mound

Cascading foliage forms graceful mounds along foot paths, over rocks and along water edges. Lovely shade grass for special areas. Metallic gold.

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HAKONECHLOA macra 'Aureola'
Plant Photo
Variegated Japanese Forest Grass
height: 8-14"      zone: 5      habit: mound

Cascading foliage forms graceful mounds along foot paths, over rocks and along water edges. Lovely shade grass for special areas. Variegated green and yellow.

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HELICTOTRICHON sempervirens
Plant Photo
Blue Oat Grass
height: 18-24"      zone: 4      habit: vase

Blue-gray spiked leaves form a vase-shape. Drought and heat tolerant. To look its best needs full sun and is salt tolerant.

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IMPERATA cylindrica 'Red Baron'
Plant Photo
Japanese Blood Grass
height: 12-24"      zone: 5      habit: erect spreader

Wide leaf blades start out as green turning to a vibrant red color as they extend. Best color in full sun but tolerates part shade in moist well-drained soil. Not usually invasive in colder northern climates, but pick your site carefully!

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MISCANTHUS sinensis 'Adagio'
Plant Photo
Dwarf Maiden Grass
height: 3-4'      zone: 5      habit: mound

A short Eulalia grass cultivar with graceful, silvery-green arching foliage becoming a whirl of orange, gold and burgundy in fall. Salmon-white blooms appearing from September-November. Ideal for smaller gardens.

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MISCANTHUS sinensis 'Cabaret'
Plant Photo
Cabaret Japanese Silver Grass
height: 6-7'      zone: 6      habit: vase
Elegant ribbon-like foliage with wide white linear stripes and dark green outer edges. The bold foliage is topped with copper colored plumes with a tint of pink in September changing to tan in winter. Good as a specimen, screen or use in mass.
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MISCANTHUS sinensis 'Gracillima'
Plant Photo
Maiden Grass
height: 5-7'      zone: 4      habit: erect
A narrow deep green blade with a single thin white stripe on the midrib. Copper-colored plumes in September, 24" above the foliage lasting through the winter and often maturing to a silver color. Always dependable.
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MISCANTHUS sinensis 'Little Zebra' PP13008
Plant Photo
Little Zebra Grass
height: 3-4'      zone: 5      habit: upright
Strong horizontal gold banding on a narrow green blade. August brings reddish-purple plumes on a superb, shorter grass.
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MISCANTHUS sinensis 'Morning Light'
Plant Photo
Variegated Maiden Grass
height: 4-5'      zone: 5      habit: upright vase

Fine-textured deep green blades with a narrow band of clear white on the leaf margins, making it look silver from a distance. Plumes appear 1-2' above the foliage in October, reddish-brown in color lasting the winter. Prefers moist to wet soil.

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MISCANTHUS sinensis 'Purpurascens'
Plant Photo
Flame Grass
height: 3-4'      zone: 4      habit: erect

Compact cultivar with pale green blades turning an outstanding orange-red color in the fall. Silver plumes appear in August lasting through winter. Excellent specimen.

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MISCANTHUS sinensis 'Strictus'
Plant Photo
Porcupine Grass
height: 6-7'      zone: 4      habit: erect
Green blades with wide yellow bands along the stem soften the stiff vertical leaf blades. The tight upright habit lends itself well to a screen or as a specimen. Coppery plumes appear in September and add interest all winter. Similar to Miscanthus s. 'Zebrinus' with a more erect habit.
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MISCANTHUS sinensis 'Variegatus'
Plant Photo
Striped Eulalia Grass
height: 5-6'      zone: 5      habit: mound
Wide leaves with a creamy-white and dark green variegation, taking on a loose mounded shape. Copper-colored plumes in September add interest throughout the fall and winter. Best color in full sun.
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PANICUM virgatum 'Heavy Metal'
Plant Photo
Blue Switch Grass
height: 3-4'      zone: 4      habit: erect

Blue, strong blades keep an upright habit. Performs well in windy sites. Salt tolerant. Delicate seed heads soften the appearance.

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PANICUM virgatum 'Northwind'
Plant Photo
Switch Grass
height: 5-6'      zone: 4      habit: erect

Attractive light olive-green blades from an upright rigid tight clump. Narrow silver flower heads rise above the foliage and they too remain extremely upright. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous gold in the fall. Drought tolerant once established. 

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PANICUM virgatum 'Shenandoah'
Plant Photo
Red Switch Grass
height: 3-4'      zone: 5      habit: erect
Keeps a compact erect form all season. Foliage starts deep-green, by summer red tones appear, fall brings full wine color to be enjoyed into winter.
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PENNISETUM alopecuroides
Plant Photo
Fountain Grass
height: 3-4'      zone: 5      habit: arching

Cold-hardy fountain grass. Narrow green leaves form a soft arching mound. Seed heads are green in summer becoming golden-brown foxtails in autumn.

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PENNISETUM alopecuroides 'Burgundy Bunny' PP21917
Plant Photo
Red Miniature Fountain Grass
height: 12-18"      zone: 5      habit: compact mound

Miniature mounds of fine green leaves with snazzy, red accents in summer, topped with creamy-white bunny-tail flowers. Red spreads until the entire plant is ablaze in autumn.

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PENNISETUM alopecuroides 'Hameln'
Plant Photo
Dwarf Fountain Grass
height: 2-3'      zone: 5      habit: arching

Compact glossy green foliage in an arching mound becoming straw-colored as winter approaches. Creamy-white foxtail plumes turn almond as they mature. One of the best dwarf grasses for mass plantings.

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PENNISETUM alopecuroides 'Little Bunny'
Plant Photo
Miniature Fountain Grass
height: 10-12"      zone: 5      habit: compact mound

Another choice for the smaller garden. Miniature form of Fountain Grass, great for edging. Plumes in August, holding nicely into winter.

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PENNISETUM alopecuroides 'Piglet' PP19074
Plant Photo
Dwarf Fountain Grass
height: 12-18"      zone: 5      habit: compact mound

Floriferous tawny plumes cascade up and above the finely textured green foliage. Likes moist to average soil, flowers late summer. A perfectly sized grass  between 'Little Bunny' and 'Hameln'.

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PENNISETUM orientale 'Karley Rose' PP12909
Plant Photo
Oriental Fountain Grass
height: 24-36"      zone: 5      habit: arching

Foliage is green and arching showing smoky pink plumes in summer into fall. Drought tolerant and quick to establish.

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PENNISETUM setaceum 'Fireworks' PP18504
Plant Photo
Variegated Red Fountain Grass
height: 3-4'      zone: 9      habit: upright mound

Very showy! Stripes of red, hot pink, green and white foliage explode from the center. Makes a great focal point for container plantings. Pink plumes in summer to fall. Does well in well-drained soil. Tender.

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PHALARIS arundinacea 'Strawberries and Cream'
Plant Photo
Ribbon Grass
height: 18-24"      zone: 4      habit: spreading

White-striped foliage blushed with pink. Foliage is particularly bright in spring with new growth. Showy plumes are appealing as accents or in groups. Grows well near ponds or bog areas, but be careful, garden bully.

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SCHIZACHYRIUM scoparium 'Smoke Signal' PPAF
Plant Photo
Little Bluestem
height: 3-4'      zone: 3      habit: erect mound

Erect blue-green foliage begins to take on scarlet red tones, turning deeper red-purple in late fall. Tiny tan seed heads appear in late summer. A strong show of color that will stay strictly upright. An excellent choice for windy sites and a wide range of soil types. Photo courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.

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SCHIZACHYRIUM scoparium 'The Blues'
Plant Photo
Little Bluestem
height: 2-4’      zone: 3      habit: erect

Drought-tolerant native, fine-textured hues of cool blues and purple, delicate silver seed heads appearing from July through September. Use in formal or casual gardens.

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SPOROBOLUS heterolepis
Plant Photo
Prairie Dropseed
height: 2-3’      zone: 3      habit: arching clump

Graceful ribbon-thin foliage adds softness to the garden. Seed heads form a mist-like veil over the leaf blades beginning in late summer. Beautiful golden-orange fall color! Likes rocky soil in full sun, drought and heat tolerant. Native.

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