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Grasses

Botanical Name     Common Name
A B C D E F-G H I J-L M-O P Q R S T U-Z ALL
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    'Blackhawks' Big Bluestem is a beautiful Andropogon selection from Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens.  The 4' stems emerge with green blades in spring, but the foliage takes on shades of deep purple in mid summer.  The turkey foot inflorescences appear in August and turn into airy, light catching seedheads for added fall and winter beauty.  Andropogon gerardii 'Blackhawks' got its name from its origins in Illinois (Chicago Blackhawks), and it thrives in prairie like conditions.

    Height: 60 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    'Red October' Big Bluestem is an exciting color breakthrough for this tough native grass.  The leaves are tipped with burgundy and held on tall upright green stems in summer.  The fall the foliage turns a bright scarlet red for several weeks after the first frost.  'Red October' also has red turkey-foot-shaped seed, particularly showy when backlit.  The sturdy upright stems are an attractive tan in winter.  An important food source for winter birds.  Introduced by Intrinsic Perennials.

    PRN Preferred:  Spring foliage emerges with reddish highlights, strong red fall color.

    Height: 60 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 3

    'Blonde Ambition' Blue Grama is a lovely low maintenance native grass which has unusually shaped inflorescences. The orange to straw colored flowers are held horizontally off the stems, so that they look like tiny feathers. This is especially lovely when back lit by afternoon sun. When planted in mass, Bouteloua 'Blonde Ambition' can serve as an infrequently mowed lawn, since it does best in full sun. It was introduced by David Salman of High Country Gardens, and brought to our attention by Steve Castorani of North Creek Nurseries.

    PRN Preferred:  A fun whimsy appeal, what other grass has horizontal seedhead that last well into the winter?

    Height: 24 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 4

    Korean Feather Reed Grass has beautiful airy pinkish inflorescences in September, above strong green foliage. It is shade and moist site tolerant and blooms much later than other Feather Reed Grasses.

    PRN Preferred:  Unsurpassed inflorescenses in the shade, combines with other perennials in mass for a striking impact.

    Height: 48 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' has tan seedheads, is early blooming and has an upright habit. A 2001 Perennial Plant of the Year, 'Karl Foerster' Feather Reed Grass was named after our friend Tim Foerster's cousin, the great German nurseryman. Winter foliage is a pale tan, and 'Karl Foerster' shows excellent salt tolerance.  Karl Foerster found this lovely spontaneous cross at the Hamburg Botanical Gardens.

    Height: 48 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    'Overdam' Feather Reed Grass has green and white foliage and tan upright inflorescences. Thriving in both sun and shade, this is one of our favorite grasses. Winter color is a whitish tan.

    Height: 36 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 4

    Appalachian Sedge is a fine-textured green clump-forming Carex that performs really well in very shady dry woodlands. The habit is arching, like a green fountain, so Appalachian Sedge is particularly attractive in mixed shade containers. 

    Height: 12 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 3

    Cherokee Sedge is an increasingly rare native that tolerates a wide range of conditions throughout the Southeast. The fine green foliage is fountain-like in habit, and the clumps slowly widen to make a natural looking groundcover. It tolerates dry conditions but is happiest in moist sites. Since it is deer resistant as well as at home in both sun and shade, this Carex deserves more usage.  Avoid hard cutback.

    Height: 18 Inches
    Spread: 12 Inches
    Zone: 6

    'Blue Zinger' Glaucous Sedge has beautiful grayish blue foliage that is similar in color to Festuca 'Elijah Blue', but 'Blue Zinger' is much more tolerant of different sites, going from shade to full sun. Carex flacca 'Blue Zinger' spreads rapidly to make a good tight groundcover.

    Height: 6 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 4

    Gray's Sedge is a tall Carex which thrives in wet and shady locations.  The light green semi-evergreen foliage grows 2', and is topped by 3' flower stems.  The blooms rapidly turn to fascinating 1" spiky stars which are attractive in flower arrangements, fresh or dried.  Carex grayi thrives in moist to wet conditions, so it naturally occurs along stream banks and edges of ponds.  It is a striking addition to rain gardens and bioswales, and tolerates full sun if kept moist.

    Height: 36 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 5

    Bunny Blue® ('Hobb') Glaucous Woodland Sedge has steel blue evergreen foliage produced by a neat, easily divisible clump. Carex Blue Bunny® prefers a woodland location, but will tolerate sun if the moisture is good. Because of its bright color and neat habit, it looks particularly attractive when colonizing a shady site (both moist and dry). A selection by Bob and Lisa Head of GardenDebut.com.

    Height: 12 Inches
    Spread: 12 Inches
    Zone: 5

    'Ice Dance' Japanese Grass Sedge has green and white striped foliage. 'Ice Dance' Kan Suge is a great evergreen groundcover that can cover a large, shady area rapidly and easily. The small flowers appear above the foliage in May.  Introduced to the US by Barry Yinger.

    Height: 12 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 5
    'Oehme' Variegated Palm Sedge has yellow stripes on narrow green leaves held up by upright stems, giving an odd mini-palm tree effect. Does well in moist and shady areas, semi-evergreen. Found in Wolfgang Oehme's garden and named by Tony Avent of Plant Delights.
    Height: 18 Inches
    Spread: 12 Inches
    Zone: 5

    'Everillo' Weeping Sedge starts the summer season with lime green mounding foliage that rapidly turns a vivid yellowish gold. Like its relatives, 'Evergold', and 'Everest', 'Everillo' is evergreen, so it lights up the garden throughout the year. Carex 'Everillo' was found by Pat Fitzgerald of Ireland, as a naturally occurring sport of 'Evergold'. The graceful, flowing habit of the narrow leaves makes this sedge an excellent addition to mixed containers.

    Height: 18 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 6

    'Everest' ('CarFit01') Weeping Sedge is a lovely sport of Carex 'Evergold', with ivory white margins bordering the dark green evergreen leaves.  The soft flowing foliage does well in woodland settings and in mixed shade containers, as its bright white stripes make a showy display.  The habit is clumping.  Found in 2006 by Pat Fitzgerald of Ireland.

    PRN Preferred:  More vivid and vigorous than its ‘Evergold’ parent. Foliage arches up from the crown and weeps gracefully.

    Height: 10 Inches
    Spread: 16 Inches
    Zone: 5

    'Evergold' Golden Sedge has yellow and green striped evergreen foliage. It is stunning as a container plant. This sedge looks good virtually year-round, and Bruce Crawford of the Rutgers Gardens has found that it is tolerant of full sun and poor soils as well. Wow!

    Height: 12 Inches
    Spread: 16 Inches
    Zone: 5
    Pennsylvania Sedge has fine green leaves which are semi-evergreen, spreading slowly by rhizomes to form a tough groundcover in shady areas. Most effective if planted in mass. It can be used instead of grass in the shade. It is very tolerant of foot traffic as well. Mow infrequently.
    Height: 8 Inches
    Spread: 12 Inches
    Zone: 4

    Seersucker Sedge lives up to its common name with its wide green leaves that are "puckered like Christmas ribbon", as those articulate folks at North Creek Nurseries say. It tolerates moist locations and adds winter interest because this Carex is evergreen.

    PRN Preferred:  We love the unique, seersucker texture of the foliage and the purplish inflorescences.

    Height: 10 Inches
    Spread: 12 Inches
    Zone: 4

    'Banana Boat' Creeping Broadleaf Sedge has broad yellow deciduous leaf blades with green margins on a slowly spreading groundcover habit.  The leaf color lights up shady spots, and is showy until the first heavy frosts in fall (this is a deciduous Sedge). Carex siderosticha 'Banana Boat' tolerates moist soils. so it would be a good addition to rain gardens and damp woodland locations.

    Height: 12 Inches
    Spread: 12 Inches
    Zone: 5
    'Prairie Fire' Orange New Zealand Sedge has thin long green blades in summer that take on shades of bronze, orange and red in fall and winter. Evergreen and of striking winter interest. Do not cut back old foliage until May or later. Good drainage is critical for this plant.
    Height: 18 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 7

    Northern Sea Oats has showy oat-like seedheads in August over green foliage. Great for dried grass arrangements. Birds and woodland animals love the seeds especially in winter. It seeds itself readily along forest edges.

    Height: 36 Inches
    Spread: 36 Inches
    Zone: 5
    Deschampsia cespitosa has delicate green foliage topped by airy panicles in fall. Shade and wet site tolerant, clump-forming, semi-evergreen.
    Height: 2 Feet
    Zone: 4

    'Goldtau' Tufted Hairgrass is a compact form of this lovely cool season native grass.  The name 'Godtau' means 'Golden Dew', which refers to the airy quality of the yellow inflorescences appearing in July to September.  The dark green blades are semi-evergreen and happy in shady locations.   Deschampsia 'Goldtau' is beautiful in mass plantings or mixed with ferns and other woodland perennials.  The fall color of the seedheads is bronze.

    Height: 18 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    Purple Lovegrass is a short warm season grass which is best planted in mass.  The effect is stunning when Eragrostis spectabilis comes into bloom in August and September.  The airy panicles are bright shades of reddish purple, making a showy carpet over sandy, dry and infertile soils.  In the fall the foliage takes on shades of reddish bronze.  This tough native provides good erosion control.

    Height: 24 Inches
    Spread: 30 Inches
    Zone: 5

    Beyond Blue™ Blue Fescue Grass is a lovely dwarf evergreen grass that thrives in partial shade. The needle like blades are icy blue all year, and are topped by numerous feathery blue seedheads in summer. As the inflorescences mature, they take on shades of tan and persist through the fall. Since Festuca Beyond Blue™ is evergreen and very compact, it makes an excellent addition to mixed containers for summer, fall and even winter enjoyment. It also is striking when used in masses in semi-shade areas.

    Height: 12 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 4

    Hakone Grass has graceful green foliage, like miniature bamboo. Soft, airy seedheads form in late summer. Fall and winter foliage color is tan. The tallest of the Hakonechloas, Andrew Bunting of the Chicago Botanic Garden describes it beautifully as "catching (the) wind and flow(ing) like a rolling wave."

    PRN Preferred:  Vigorous but graceful, an excellent shade groundcover.

    Height: 24 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    The bright yellow spiky foliage of Gold Hakone Grass is more upright than H. 'Aureola'. This grass really lights up shady spots, especially when covered with delicate seedheads. This is Bruce Crawford's favorite Hakonechloa for a number of its attributes. Fall and winter color is tan.

    Height: 18 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 6
    The striking yellow and green foliage of Golden-Variegated Hakone Grass helps make this and 'All Gold' our absolute favorite shade grass. Tan color in fall and winter is preceded by delicate, feathery seed panicles. A 2009 Perennial Plant of the Year, and a slow-spreading groundcover.
    Height: 12 Inches
    Spread: 36 Inches
    Zone: 6
    The wide powder blue leaves of 'Blue Dune' Lyme Grass combine with seedheads that look a little like barley. An aggressive spreader that likes dry sites. Salt and wind tolerant. Leymus arenarius 'Blue Dune' is good for erosion control because it's so vigorous.
    Height: 24 Inches
    Spread: 36 Inches
    Zone: 4
    'Gracillimus' Maiden Grass has rose-red inflorescences in late summer over green foliage with a thin, white mid-rib. The old classic form of the Maiden Grasses, with attractive light tan winter color.
    Height: 72 Inches
    Spread: 36 Inches
    Zone: 5
    'Morning Light' Maiden Grass has rose inflorescences in late summer, above fine white and green striped leaves. The finest textured of the large Maiden Grasses, and one of our favorites in the landscape. Also beautiful all winter.
    Height: 60 Inches
    Spread: 36 Inches
    Zone: 5

    'Skyracer' Purple Moor Grass has tall seedheads in mid summer that are very showy above short, green foliage which turns yellow in the fall. Introduced by Kurt Bluemel, it holds up well in the winter. Bruce Crawford of The Rutgers Gardens calls Molinia a 'ghost plant' because you can see things through the airy seedheads.  Molinias tolerate moist soils well.

    Height: 72 Inches
    Spread: 36 Inches
    Zone: 4

    Muhlenbergia capillaris has deep rose-purple inflorescences in September, and the effect makes people stop in their tracks and stare. It must have a well-drained site, especially in the winter.

    Height: 36 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 6

    Mexican Feather Grass has delicate, hair-like green foliage which is topped by airy tan seedheads in early summer. It is great in mixed containers. Formerly named Stipa. Bruce Crawford of The Rutgers Gardens has had it survive in North Jersey, so maybe it's hardier in the ground in a well-drained site.

    Height: 18 Inches
    Spread: 12 Inches
    Zone: 6

    'Heavy Metal' Switchgrass has blue-green foliage that is very upright, with attractive seedheads appearing in July and lasting throughout the winter. One of the earliest Switchgrasses introduced to the trade like all the Panicums this is an important seed source to feed winter birds.  Selected by Kurt Bluemel.

    Height: 48 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    'Northwind' Switchgrass has green-tan seedheads above blue-green foliage with a very upright habit. Introduced by Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm in Wisconsin. Our favorite upright Panicum, and the perfect tall grass for tight spots. An excellent tan in the winter.  2014 Perennial Plant of the Year.  Bruce Neary of BCN Horticultural Services loves 'Northwind' because it never flops.

    PRN Preferred:  A reliably upright Panicum with very attractive blade color.

    Height: 72 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    'Shenandoah' Switchgrass has reddish-tan seedheads above reddish-green foliage with burgundy tips. The fall color is a burgundy-red, turning to a soft tan in winter. Selected by Dr. Hans Simon in Germany and brought into this country by the US National Arboretum.  Important food source for winter birds.

    PRN Preferred:  One of the shortest and showiest Panicums, with red blade tips in early summer.

    Height: 36 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    'Summer Sunrise' Switchgrass is a compact Panicum, with a neat upright habit and clean bluish green foliage.  The inflorescences are striking, appearing in shades of soft pink in late summer.  They take on shades of pinkish gold in the early fall and Panicum 'Summer Sunrise' turns light tan in late fall and all winter.  This versatile grass is an Introduction by Hoffman Nursery in North Carolina.

    Height: 48 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    'Totem Pole' Switch Grass is part of the Prairie Winds® series of striking native grasses.  The tall upright stems display steel blue blades in summer, becoming an attractive tan in late fall and winter.  The inflorescences appear in late summer and early fall, with shades of yellow and gold until the seeds mature to a light tan.  Birds benefit from the seeds durning the winter, and the upright persistant habit makes Panicum 'Totem Pole' an excellent architectural element in the landscape all winter.

    Height: 72 Inches
    Spread: 30 Inches
    Zone: 4

    ‘Burgundy Bunny’ Miniature Fountain Grass has delicate green leaves which are tipped with burgundy. The short creamy seedheads are produced in July and last into the winter. Fall color is a bronzy-red. Good drainage is necessary for winter survival. Bred by Walla Walla Nursery and introduced by PlantHaven® Inc.

    Height: 12 Inches
    Spread: 16 Inches
    Zone: 6

    'Cassian' Fountain Grass has light gold seedheads above fine green foliage. The seedheads are a little more colorful than 'Hameln' when they first emerge. Introduced by Kurt Bluemel. The winter foliage is a pale tan.

    Height: 24 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 6

    'Hameln' Dwarf Fountain Grass has creamy white seedheads, above fine green foliage. This is the most well-known of the Pennisetums, and a real workhorse. Like all Pennisetums, 'Hameln' does best with good drainage. The thin leaves take on an ivory winter color.

    Height: 24 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 6

    'Piglet' Fountain Grass is more compact than P. 'Hameln' and hardier and showier than P. 'Little Bunny'. 'Piglet' is a good choice for a really compact space. Seedheads are a soft tan, lasting into early winter.  Introduced by Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennials

    Height: 16 Inches
    Spread: 12 Inches
    Zone: 5

    'Red Head' Fountain Grass has huge smoky burgundy bottlebrush seedheads above wide green leaves. Earlier blooming than 'Moudry' and showier. Selected by Brent Horvath from seedlings of P. 'National Arboretum'. It really turns heads when in bloom, and the winter foliage is attractive.

    Height: 36 Inches
    Spread: 36 Inches
    Zone: 6

    'Karley Rose' Oriental Fountain Grass has very colorful rose-pink inflorescences over green foliage. 'Karley Rose' blooms all summer, with the older seedheads becoming a dark tan. This grass has an open habit.

    Height: 30 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 6

    Pennisetum x advena 'Rubrum' has beautiful red inflorescences and burgundy foliage. Red Tender Fountain Grass is an annual that blooms for so long, and is so beautiful, that it is well worth replanting every summer. Use it for containers, or directly in the ground.  Formerly classified as P. setaceum 'Rubrum'.

    Height: 4 Feet
    Spread: 2 Feet
    Zone: 9

    'Carousel' Little Bluestem is a more compact version of our lovely native grass, with beautiful blue-green summer foliage which turns amazing shades of purple and bronze in fall. The delicate seedheads appear in August and September, and are especially showy when backlit by evening sunlight. Plant in excellent drainage for the best performance. Found by Donald Boehm of Illinois, and introduced by Chicagoland Grows®, so you know it's cold tolerant. All Little Bluestems attract butterflies when in bloom and songbirds when in seed.

    Height: 30 Inches
    Spread: 30 Inches
    Zone: 3

    ‘Standing Ovation’ Little Bluestem is an exciting new introduction by those talented folks at North Creek Nurseries. The steel blue blades are wider than most Little Bluestem.  With thicker stems, the habit is reliably upright throughout the summer, fall, and winter. The summer colors of blue with hints of purple turn to spectacular shades of lavender, red, and orange in the fall. The airy seedheads are beautiful, especially when backlit by afternoon light, and the light tan winter color is displayed impressively on the upright strong stems. We find that it tolerates more irrigation than we expected, although its ideal conditions are those of dry sterile sites.  One of the native plants chosen by Piet Oudolf for the newly planted meadow garden at Delaware Botanic Gardens.

    Height: 48 Inches
    Spread: 12 Inches
    Zone: 3

    'Twilight Zone' Little Bluestem is a tall native grass which thrives in dry, sterile locations.  This selection was introduced by Walters Gardens because of its vivid coloration, which is visible starting in mid summer, earlier than many Schizachyriums.  The leaves and stems sport shades of silver, mauve and purple which become more purple and burgundy as the weather cools.  The seedheads appear in early fall and are both beautiful and a source of food for birds.  Dry sites are critical to keeping 'Twilight Zone' upright.

    Height: 48 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 3

    Autumn Moor Grass is a good adaptable short grass that produces chartreuse-green fine foliage topped by delicate creamy seedheads in late summer. It is happy in both sun and partial shade, and tolerates dry sites. Most effective in large sweeps in the landscape, especially since Sesleria stays green well into late fall.

    Height: 18 Inches
    Spread: 24 Inches
    Zone: 4

    'Indian Steel' Indian Grass has 3' steel-blue foliage that is crowned in mid to late summer by 5' showy yellow and orange flower spikes. These turn a beautiful orange-bronze in the fall, as does the foliage, and the effect in mass is stunning. Sorgastrum n. 'Indian Steel' prefers dry sites, and is a very important source of food in late summer for grassland birds.

    Height: 60 Inches
    Spread: 36 Inches
    Zone: 4

    Prairie Dropseed is a green clumping grass with airy delicate panicles held high above the foliage. The fall color is a wonderful orange, changing to cream in winter. It is extremely tolerant of dry sites, and it has a wonderful flowery fragrance to boot when planted in mass.  An important seed source for winter birds.

    PRN Preferred:  What other grass combines beautiful airy seed panicles, showy fall color and great fragrance?

    Height: 24 Inches
    Spread: 18 Inches
    Zone: 4
Botanical Name     Common Name
A B C D E F-G H I J-L M-O P Q R S T U-Z ALL