Ornamental grasses can play a part in most gardens, from providing calming accompaniments to more colourful flowering plants to being the sole focus of the design. There are grasses for damp or dry soil, shady as well as sunny situations. Many are great to add to the cutting garden; others perform well in containers.

Cultivation: ornamental grasses tolerate a wide range of conditions, but most like a sunny position in light, moist but well-drained, moderately fertile soil. They do not need much feeding; this can encourage lush foliage at the expense of flowers. One application of a balanced fertiliser in spring is adequate.

Planting: It's important to plant grasses at the correct time. Grasses from cool climates such as Deschampsia, Festuca, Helictotrichon and Stipa come into growth in late winter and flower before mid-summer and so should be planted in autumn for the best establishment. Grasses from warm climates such as Miscanthus, Panicum, Pennisetum and Spartina come into growth in late spring, flower after mid-summer and are usually cut back in late winter. They are best planted in late spring.

Container cultivation: Grasses are good plants for containers. Use loam-based compost, such as John Innes No 2 with 20% loam-free compost to lighten the mix. Evergreen grasses such as Carex combine well with winter bedding to give height and a contrast in texture.

  • Acorus calamus Variegatus 3L pot

    Sweetflag. An aquatic plant with thick creeping rhizomes. Sword like upright green leaves striped white and cream. Height 80cm. Spread 60cm. Flowers from May to June. Herbaceous. Hardy.

  • Acorus gramineus Ogon 3L pot

    Japanese rush. A semi-evergreen aquatic with fans of glossy, narrow, variegated leaves striped with pale green and cream. Height 20cm. Spread 15cm. Semi-evergreen. Hardy.

  • Bouteloua gracilis 3L pot

    A perennial grass with leaves to 60cm long, lightly curling at the tips giving a bushy frothy effect. Brownish purple spikelets form the flower head in summer.

  • Calamagrostis x acutiflora Karl Forester 3L pot

    Feather Reed Grass. Smallweed. Clump-forming perennial grass with arching mid-green leaves. Erect stems of pink-bronze flowers that fade to pale brown. Height 1.8m. Spread 60cm. Flowers from July to August. Semi-Evergreen. Hardy. Planting instructions Water thoroughly before planting.

  • Carex brunnea Jenneke 2L pot

    A small compact growing grass with thin corn-yellow coloured leaves that are margined with a thin dark-green line. Very graceful and superb for planting in groups with other grasses and in containers too

  • Carex brunnea Pagira 3L pot

    A small compact growing grass with thin corn-yellow coloured leaves that are margined with a thin dark-green line. Very graceful and superb for planting in groups with other grasses and in containers too.

  • Carex buchananii Red Rooster 3L pot

    Leatherleaf Sedge. Upright clumps of narrow pinkish brown leaves which curl at their tips. Has orange tints in winter. Brown flower spikes. Height 60cm. Spread 60cm. Flowers from May to October. Evergreen. Hardy.

  • Carex comans Bronze form 3L pot

    Sedge. Dense, evergreen clumps of narrow hair-like, brownish leaves. Inconspicuous brown flower spikes. Height 30cm. Spread 75cm. Flowers from April to October. Evergreen. Hardy.

  • Carex comans Frosted Curls 3L pot

    New Zealand Hair Sedge. Dense evergreen clumps of narrow hair-like light whitish green leaves.Compact habit. Inconspicuous whitish green flower spikes. Height 45cm. Flowers from June to February. Evergreen.

  • Carex elata Aurea 3L pot

    Bowls Golden Sedge. Elegant clumps of richly golden yellow leaves with green margins and jet-black flower spikes. Green and brown flower spikes. Height 70cm. Spread 90cm. Flowers from April to June. Deciduous. Hardy.

  • Carex flacca Blue Zinger 3L pot

    Recent cultivar and forms an attractive, compact clump with blue-green evergreen leaves. It is suitable to grow in the shade or partial shade in moist, soft, neutral to alkaline well drained soil. A good grass to grow in a pot; cascading foliage which remains evergreen all year round.

  • Carex morrowii Ice Dance 3L pot

    Sedge. Lustrous narrow green leaves beautifully margined with white forming stiff clumps. Green and brown flower spikes. Height 60cm. Spread 75cm. Flowers from April to June. Evergreen. Hardy.

  • Carex oshimensis Evergold 3L pot

    Sedge. Clumps of slender long-arching leaves, with a glowing gold band between green margins. Brown flowers spikes. Height 35cm. Spread 60cm. Flowers from May to June. Evergreen. Hardy.

  • Carex testacea 3L pot

    Unusual olive green arching leaves, turning orange in full sun. Moist soil.

  • Carex testacea Prairie Fire 3L pot

    Sedge. Elegant arching, fine leaves, olive-green at the end, bright green at the base, turning almost orange in sun and almost green in shade. Brown flower spikes. Height 45cm. Spread 45cm. Flowers from July to September. Evergreen. Hardy.

  • Festuca amethystina 3L pot

    Large Blue Fescue, Tufted Fescue. A densely tufted evergreen grass with narrow enrolled grey-green leaves, panicles of greenish purple flowers. Height 45cm. Spread 25cm. Flowers from April to June. Evergreen. Hardy. Planting instructions Water thoroughly before planting.

  • Festuca glauca Golden Toupee 3L pot

    Golden Toupee Fescue. A tight cushion-forming evergreen grass with soft narrow needle-like yellow leaves in spring, becoming yellow-lime, panicles of yellow-lime flowers, fading to brown as they seed. Height 25cm. Spread 25cm. Flowers from May to July. Evergreen. Hardy. Protect from winter wet.

  • Hakonechloa macra All Gold 3L pot

    Golden Hakone Grass. A beautiful grass forming low mounds of densely overlapping leaves. Rich yellow with thin stripes of green occasional splashes of white on wiry red stems. Green flowers in autumn. Height 25cm. Spread 80cm. Flowers from August to October. Herbaceous. Hardy

  • Helictotrichon sempervirens 3L pot

    Blue Oat Grass. An evergreen grass with grey-blue leaves radiating outwards from the centre to form a neat clump. Oat-like flowers are grey-blue at first. quickly turning straw-coloured. Height 1m. Spread 1m. Flower colour Brown. Flowers from May to July. Evergreen. Foliage colour Grey/Blue. Hardy.

  • Imperata cylindrica Red Baron 3L pot

    Japanese Blood Grass. An attractive grass with narrow yellow-green leaves tipped with red in spring, by mid-summer the whole leaf is red. Height 45cm. Spread 30cm. Herbaceous.

  • Leymus arenarius Blue Dune 3L pot

    A perennial grass with bright. pale blue-grey. narrow leaves and blue-grey spikelets in summer. Height 1.5m. Spread Indefinite. Flower colour Blue. Grey. Flowers from June to August. Herbaceous. Foliage colour Blue. Grey. Hardy. Planting instructions Water thoroughly before planting.

  • Libertia ixioides Taupo Blaze 3L pot

    Dense clump-forming perennial with narrow leathery leaves, sometimes turning orange-brown in winter and clusters of white flowers in late spring and early summer. Height 60cm. Spread 60cm. Flowers from May to June. Evergreen. Frost hardy. Sheltered Site.

  • Miscanthus Gigantus 3L pot

    A robust tall grass, clump forming with very narrow green leaves. Silvery white spikelets August-September. Height 3m. Deciduous. Hardy. Prefers moist soil.

  • Miscanthus sinensis Adagio 3L pot

    Maiden Grass. A robust tall grass with very narrow grey-green with pale silver-green midribs. Silvery white spikelets. Height 1.5-2.2m. Spread 1.4m. November. Deciduous. Hardy.

  • Miscanthus sinensis Cute One 3L pot

    Maiden Grass. A robust tall grass with very narrow grey-green with pale silver-green midribs. Silvery white spikelets. Height 1.5-2.2m. Spread 1.4m. November. Deciduous. Hardy.

  • Miscanthus sinensis Morning Light 3L pot

    An elegant grass with narrow green leaves margined creamy white and silvery flower plumes. Height 1m. Spread 5m. Flowers from September to February. Semi-evergreen. Hardy. Planting instructions Back-fill with soil mixed with peat and a suitable fertiliser.

  • Miscanthus sinensis Navajo 3L pot

    Maiden Grass. A robust tall grass with very narrow grey-green with pale silver-green midribs. Silvery white spikelets. Height 1.5-2.2m. Spread 1.4m. November. Deciduous. Hardy.

  • Miscanthus Zebrinus 3L pot

    Zebra Grass. Elegant grass. Narrow green leaves with bands of yellow and plumes of silver flowers. Height 2.4m. Spread 1.2m. Flowers from September to October. Deciduous. Hardy. Planting instructions Back-fill with soil mixed with peat and a suitable fertiliser.

  • Muhlenbergia capillaris 3L pot

    A tussock forming grass, stunning, wispy pink flowers in autumn.

  • Ophiopogon planiscarpus Nigrescens 3L pot

    Ophiopogon planiscapus is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae. It is a small evergreen perennial growing to 20 cm tall by 30 cmwide. It grows from short rhizomes, and bears tufts of grasslike leaves, from which purple or white flowers emerge in racemes held on short stems above the leaves. It is native to Japan, where it grows on open and forested slopes.

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