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Ornamental grasses offer great value, and these popular Plants of the Moment produce long-lasting displays in any garden. Large individuals have a real presence, taking pride of place in beds and borders, while colourful planting combinations can be created with flowering perennials like Black-eyed Susan, Coneflowers and Ice Plants.
Many great grasses are available that have received an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the Royal Horticultural Society. Here are some of the most popular:
Festuca – such as Blue Fescue Grass (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’)
Pennisetum – such as Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Summer Samba’)
Miscanthus – such as Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’)
Stipa – such as Giant Golden Oats (Stipa gigantea)
1. Be generous and plant grasses in drifts or bold groups rather than as lonely individuals.
2. Some large potted grasses can be divided into two or three pieces at planting time, each with roots and shoots attached.
3. Grasses grow well in patio pots, but make sure tall varieties are planted in large, heavy pots to prevent them blowing over in strong winds.
4. Line terracotta pots with plastic from old compost bags to help conserve moisture.
5. The tops of some perennial, like miscanthus, die over winter. Promptly cut away all old growth to avoid damaging new shoots that start emerging in early spring.
6. Many ornamental grasses can be raised from seed. Annual grasses like Bunny Tails (Lagurus ovatus), Greater Quaking Grass (Briza maxima), Feathertop (Pennisetum villosum), Purple Millet (Pennisetum ‘Purple Majesty’), and Squirrel Tail Grass (Hordeum jubatum) as well as perennial grasses like Stipa tenuissima can be grown from spring sown seeds.