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Ornamental Grasses

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Lawn Experts Lawnexperts

What are Ornamental Grasses?

Ornamental Grasses are grasses that are not always grown as a lawn. They sometimes can take the form of a potted grass or a grass that is used around the border of an existing lawn. In addition they can be used to embellish the area around a pond or rocky area or as a centre piece in an oriental-style garden.

Types of Ornamental Grass

There are many different types of Ornamental Grass available. Here are just a few to choose from.

Deschampsia caespitosa

Also known as the Golden Tau, Deschampsia caespitosa is what is referred to as a 'hair grass' given the nature of the very fine blades and flowers it produces. These flowers are known to cover the grass from late spring right through the year until late autumn and even into the winter months depending on the temperature. It grows well in shaded areas and can grow in most soils.

Corynephorus canescens

Known more commonly as Silver Grass, this particular grass will be familiar to many who spend lots of their spare time walking along beaches and cliffs overlooking the sea. The Corynephorus canescens also goes by the name of Spiky Blue although the leaves of this particular grass are always more grey than blue. Growing to around 30cm (11") tall, Corynephorus canescens requires full sunlight but soil of any condition. Even the sandiest soil will allow this hard wearing grass to grow well.

Dactylis glomerata variegata

A very common grass which is hardy and seeds free but pollinating in the air. Distinctive because of its brilliant white leaves, the Dactylis glomerata variegata grows to around 30cm (11") tall. Again it is a grass which is not particular about the soil in which it grows and grows well alongside other grasses.

Festuca glauca

Known as the Elijah Blue, the Festuca glauca is renowned for its vibrant colour. This particular grass grows again to around a height of 30cm (11") tall and can grow in acidic soils. However it is best to avoid alkaline or heavy chalk based soils. They do however fair well in full sunlight with good drainage but can sustain themselves in drier conditions for a period of time.

These are - as we have already mentioned - just a selection of the many varieties of ornamental grasses available today. There are many grasses available which fulfil specific purposes such as providing shade for other plants and grasses, and there are some that are beneficial in removing or providing additional nutrients in the soil in which other grasses and plants are growing.

As with all grasses and their introduction into the garden environment, it is best that you consult with your local nursery or garden centre before embarking on planting them.

For those grasses which cannot be potted and must be planted within a lawn or soil based environment you should check which soils are best to sustain them and what kind of temperatures they can flourish or flounder at.

Your local nursery or garden centre will have all the information you require and may be able to offer alternatives if the grass you are interested in will not fair well in your particular garden or environment.

Likewise they may be able to offer helpful tips on how to encourage the grasses to grow and how to get the best from your soils during the growing process.

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