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Ornamental Grasses Need to Be Considered

by Gwin Jamerson, Master Gardener

Ornamental grasses can be used in many places in the landscape. After all, grasses grow here naturally. Ornamental grasses add variety and interest with their graceful flower clusters and plumes, moving in the wind. They vary in size from less than two feet to over six feet tall. Using the wisdom of planting the right plant in the right place, consider the different types of grasses useful in the landscape.

For example, last year at the Permian Basin Master Gardener Plant Sale, I bought 3 zebra grass (Miscanthus sinenis ‘Zebrinus’) in quart sized pots. They were just coming out of dormancy. They were so cute, but they seemed so small. I made the mistake of planting them too close together. So, this spring I had to completely remove one to another location. This grass can grow to be seven feet tall and needs four or five feet between plants.

Grasses are not showy this time of year—no flowers just green leaves. But just wait, the sweet little bunny tails (Pennisetum alopecuroides), the flags of the grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’) or the pink airy muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Lenca’) will reward you with late summer through winter interest. Prune in February and enjoy the whole year.



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