9 Best Ornamental Grasses for your Garden

By January 24, 2022 Media No Comments
ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses are a must-have in a mixed border. They provide height, movement, and year-round interest. Pop some tall grass in the back of a border for textural contrast or go bold with a mass planting. At Kilby Park Tree Farm we have plenty of grasses to suit any space. Here are a few varieties we offer..

  • Miscanthus transmorrisonensis (Chinese Silver Grass)

Drama and grace! Considered one of the best Miscanthus varieties, it’s hard to pass this one up while it’s in bloom. This tall grass reaches to 4 meters with silver plumes that arch above the foliage from late summer to mid-winter. The flowers mature to brassy bronze in autumn, providing excellent seasonality. Plant this evergreen stunner in a mixed perennial border to add height and movement. For best results, plant in full sun and keep well-watered in summer. Be sure to cut the spent flowers and plumes to the ground in winter to allow for fresh spring growth.

  • Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ (Feather Reed Grass)

Another stunner with plenty of versatility. This grass is well-loved for its warm autumnal hues and long-lasting flower display. The plumes mature into decorative seed heads which are sterile, meaning it won’t get away from you. Reaching to heights of 1.8 meters, plant this grass in full sun with plenty of space. This species can also tolerate heavy clay soils. Cut back to the ground in winter.

  • Dianella Tasmanica (Blue Flax Lily)

Growing naturally in Tasmanian and Victorian forests, this robust grass is a perfect low-maintenance option. Being a forest grass, Dianella tasmanica can tolerate some shade and moist conditions. Star-shaped blue flowers are followed by long-lasting berries, which the local birds really appreciate. Reaches 1m in height.

  • Carex testacea (Orange Sedge)

This lovely sedge is distinctive for its cascading leaves which bronze into the loveliest coppery hues in autumn. The delicate, narrow leaves really glow in the sunlight and provide wonderful texture. This species grows best in full sun to part shade with moderate watering. Growing between 30 to 60cm tall and wide, Orange Sedge tolerates coastal conditions well.

  • Carex Albula ‘Frosted Curls’ (Frosted Sedge)

Similar in growth habit to the Orange Sedge, this hardy grass has white and green variegated foliage which really pops in the front of a border or planted en masse. Virtually unkillable, this is a set-and-forget type of plant. Its frost, drought and salt tolerance make this grass a valuable coastal option. Plant in full sun and expect this plant to grow approximately 45cm high and wide.

  • Lomandra longifolia ‘Tanika’ (Mat Rush)

A mainstay in Australian gardens for a reason, this grass can tolerate just about anything. It is highly regarded for its narrow blue-green foliage and consistent performance. ‘Tanika’ looks great in mass plantings or planted along narrow borders. This grass tolerates a wide range of soil types and grows best in full sun but can take some shade. Expect to reach 50cm.

This next group of plants are technically lilies, but they offer the same aesthetic values as ornamental grasses. They are the lovely Liriopes!

  • Liriope muscari ‘Monroe White’

liriope muscari monroe white

One of our most popular liriopes at Kilby, ‘Monroe’s White’ features bright white flower spikes, which sets it apart from its purple-flowering cousins. The flowers last through spring and summer, while the evergreen clumping foliage provides a dense ground cover. Low-maintenance and tough as nails, this clumping plant will grow anywhere. And we mean anywhere! Sun, shade, pots, you name it. Expect to reach 45cm high and wide.

  • Liriope muscari ‘Royal Purple’

liriope muscari royal purple

This liriope is virtually identical to ‘Monroes White’ except for its purple flower spikes. Consider mixing and matching the two for a bit of fun. Like all liriopes, this one is hardy as, and very cold tolerant. Like all other liriopes, ‘Royal Purple’ appreciates rich, organic soil and is moderately fast growing.

  • Liriope ‘Evergreen Giant’

liriope evergreen giant

Looking for a medium height grass for a tricky, shady spot? Look no further than the Evergreen Giant. All the benefits of the above cultivars but taller, this one is best suited to a part shade environment but will tolerate full sun. Spikes of long-lasting pale-purple flowers accent the strappy foliage from summer to autumn. Will reach 60 cm.

As always, if you have any questions about our ornamental grasses, get in touch!