Now is the time perennial grasses really start to shine and get noticed. Customers often come into the store eager to show someone a picture they snapped as they walked or drove by someone’s yard trying to find out exactly what plant they saw and if we have them for sale. Grasses are the perfect addition to any garden especially since they are deer resistant, drought tolerant, pest free and generally disease resistant. Basically you can leave grasses to fend for themselves and the only care is cutting them back either later in the fall or in early spring.
Here are five favorites you may want to consider adding to your garden. They make a great backdrop to other plants and grow to sizes from just a few feet tall to well over 6! Click on the name of each grass for more pictures and growing information from our Plant Finder tool! Don’t forget to bring in or show us your Plant Finder list and the $5 coupon that comes with it.
Shenendoah Switch Grass I have this one all over my yard, well not really, but I do have it as a nice accent in part sun and it does just fine. It stays a bit smaller than the five plants I have in the back yard that get full sun. I love the texture of the airy plumes in contrast to the wider leaves. Grows to about 4′ tall and about 3′ wide.
Little Bluestem is a great native plant in Minnesota. Varieties like ‘Blaze’, ‘Blue Heaven’ or ‘Prairie Blue’ have been selected for best growth and color from the native little blue. Little bluestem grows to about 2′ tall making it one of the shorter grasses out there, but it is super hardy and you can’t beat the blueish leaves that always seem to have a few with a dark red or purple color. In the fall they turn a fantastic reddish orange color.
Mithcanthus ‘Graziella’ Many folks stop in looking for a grass like this after seeing the silvery, fluffy plumes along the roadsides. This variety is a beautiful addition to your landscape and it really stands out as a focal plant. ‘Graziella’ and ‘Autumn Flame’ are both great varieties, but beware of digging up the version you often see in ditches. It spreads through the roots and will try to take over your gardens.
Big bluestem is the taller relative of Little bluestem getting up to around 6′ tall. It has the “turkey foot” plumes but the rich red color really shines after the first frost.
Prairie Dropseed takes a different form than the other grasses featured here. It is very fine textured and a graceful, arching habit. It is stunning planted in mass over a larger area or use several plants for an accent. Be sure to space them 3-4′ feet apart so the shape of each plant really shines.