Summer in the garden is a wonderful experience. The weather is not the only factor to consider. And the wilting plants, too. Watering excessively is another issue.
Honestly, in hot places, running a summer garden is not always the romantic experience we want it to be. It takes a lot of effort. Fortunately, there is a low-maintenance option that will leave you sitting in the shade, sipping cocktails and enjoying your curated environment – grasses.
The right grass for any garden is ornamental grasses.
For your garden walk, do you need an edgy plant or something to spice up your rock garden? Maybe you have a prized container garden that needs fillers, or a lightweight screen that needs height. There’s an ornamental grass variety for whatever you need.
Not only do beautiful gardens look lovely, but they are also simple to maintain. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the summer as it was meant to be enjoyed.
A Quick Care Guide to Ornamental Grasses
Ornatble grasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they’re suitable for a variety of occasions and areas in your garden. This is especially true for ornamental grasses.
Your watering habits may change depending on the kind and purpose of your ornamental grass. While some grasses can survive receiving watered less than once or twice a week, others will flourish with a thorough soaking and the rest of your flora.
These grasses thrive on well-drained soil and don’t require fertilizer often. They will flourish for a long time without fertilizer if they are sown in excellent, balanced soil. In addition, your summer grasses require bright sunlight to thrive.
Deciduous grasses will need to be chopped back each year, while evergreen grasses will need to be trimmed every few years. Cut the stems back to about an inch above the ground for a complete cut back. Your deciduous grasses will look their best next season as a result of this. Any dead, old leaves can be removed by simply trimming the Evergreens and brushing them through.
Now, for your summer garden, let’s talk about the best decorative grasses.
1. Blue Fescue
Blue Fescue is an attractive grass with a bright color that thrives quickly and requires minimal care. It’s a great container plant, pot plant, or as a border plant because it clumps together.
Blue Fescue can be grown with a range of perennial plants and thrives in full sun to partial shade. When combined with big leaves, its greenish-yellow blooms create an intriguing appearance. This ornamental grass will thrive as long as the soil is well-draining and does not stay waterlogged.
The drought tolerance of this grass is recognized, but its growth will be stifled if it is exposed to long periods of dryness. In hot weather, blue fescue needs to be watered at least once every seven days to stay healthy and happy.
USDA hardiness zones 4-8 are ideal for blue fescue. Summers are best when it’s cooler, but it can tolerate heat as well.
2. Zebra Grass
Any area can be given an exotic appearance with zebra grass, also known as porcupine grass. Its large leaves contrast beautifully with its long, yellow, and green striped leaves. To boost your hedge’s privacy and diversity, plant it with hedges.
For the low-maintenance gardener, this decorative grass is ideal. It thrives in a range of soil types, from clay to loam to sandy, which makes it perfect for that difficult spot in your garden.
In hot climates, zebra grass thrives in full sun. It thrives in USDA zones 5-9, needing temperatures of 70 to 90 degrees to flourish.
Zebra grass will need frequent deep watering right after planting to allow the roots to develop. You won’t need to water as often once it has established, since it is drought tolerant as well.
3. Mexican Feather Grass
Several people like this decorative grass, but not my other plants (don’t tell them). The feathery blades of this grass, which soften landscapes, will be familiar to you. It is drought tolerant once mature and grows in a variety of conditions.
Mexican feather grass may also be grown practically anywhere. Regardless of where you put it, it’ll provide height and create interesting movement.
USDA zones 7-10 are ideal for growing Mexican feather grass, which thrives in full sun and warmer temperatures. Excessive heat can bleach the grass, but it won’t die back. Loamy soil with excellent drainage is required.
Since it has low to average water requirements, this plant is perfect for forgetful waterers. Once established, it’s drought-tolerant, and if you skip the watering now and then, it’ll look fine.
One major disadvantage of Mexican feather grass is that it spreads easily. There will be a lot of seeds in your garden, most likely. In some places, it’s considered an invasive plant, while in others, regular upkeep can keep it under control.
Despite this setback, the beauty of this grass makes it worth persevering with.
4. Japanese Forest Grass
Japanese forest grass is the perfect grass for containers and along borders, because it creates a golden spectacle. Its leaves feature deep green streaks and are golden in color, making it a one-of-a-kind display wherever it’s planted.
Japanese forest grass grows well in partial shade, unlike many other ornamental grasses. It can take full shade or sun, but the colors aren’t as vibrant. The leaves become entirely green when there is too much shade, but browned tips develop when there is too much sun.
Hardiness zones 5-9 are best for Japanese forest grass, which can withstand any weather and temperatures present in these zones.
This plant’s preferred wet soil is yet another unusual attribute. It still necessitates well-draining soil with nutrients, but it may need an additional watering or two during the height of summer. To help retain moisture, apply mulch around the plant.
The only drawback to this gorgeous plant is that it takes a long time to grow. While not suited for impatient gardeners, it is an option for those prepared to wait.
5. Purple Fountain Grass
Landscapers like to use purple fountain grass. From afar and up close, its purple-red fountain-like plumes offer a stunning contrast to any décor.
For a short privacy screen, it’s an ideal plant. It works especially well in container gardens, adding texture and height to the mix.
It’s really simple to grow this plant. Purple fountain grass thrives in USDA zones 8 through 11, however it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. This grass can be enjoyed as an annual in colder areas if you live there. It’s even better than that, since it doesn’t mind if the humidity is high or low.
Once it has established, this decorative grass is drought tolerant and will only need water once every week or so if you don’t get any rain. Water twice a week to support the plant’s root development while it’s establishing in your garden, and then water only once every week or two.
The quantity of sunlight that purple fountain grass receives is the only thing it is picky about. This plant is ideal for bright summer gardens because it thrives in at least six hours of sunlight every day.
6. Blue Oat Grass
Blue oat grass is the perfect grass for those with cooler summers. The silver-blue leaves make this another fountain-type grass, but it’s one of a kind in any garden. In rock gardens or as an edging for big beds, blue oat grass sparkles. In the summer, it exudes beautiful blue blooms that match its fascinating leaves.
Full sun is required for blue oat grass to grow, with at least six hours of light each day. It thrives in USDA zones 4-9 and prefers dryer, slightly colder conditions. Yet, it does tolerate warmer summer temperatures, although it may never reach its full potential.
This decorative grass thrives in dry, well-drained soil, so it doesn’t need to be watered often. In some regions, it may even subsist on rainwater alone. Monitor the soil frequently, and only water when it is necessary to keep an eye on the plant’s health.
7. Japanese Blood Grass
Gardens with Japanese blood grass have a distinct accent. In container gardens, its deep red, yellow, and green blades stand out. It thrives on a wide range of conditions and grows readily.
In USDA zones 5-9, Japanese blood grass thrives and spreads quickly, even in the hottest conditions. This tough perennial thrives in coastal environments, thanks to the high humidity they provide.
This grass, which tolerates difficult sandy soils, isn’t particular about its soil. It may endure dry spells and enjoy a little skipped watering from time to time.
Gardeners should be cautious when buying specific cultivars, despite their benefits. I’m not exaggerating when I say they spread quickly. It may not be cultivated without a license in numerous regions throughout the United States. On the safe side, choose the Rubra cultivar.
8. Pink Muhly Grass
One of the simplest grasses to maintain is pink muhly grass. This taller plant, which grows to about three feet, makes for a lovely show and is especially stunning at the end of summer. The deep green leaves develop soft pink blooms with a fuzzy effect as the season approaches its conclusion. It’s like a goodbye to the summer.
This perennial grass requires six to eight hours of sunlight every day, and it thrives in the sun. It has lovely pink blooms that can bloom in part shade.
To thrive, pink muhly grass requires well-draining soil. Once established, this plant is drought tolerant and does not need a lot of water. A quick watering will suffice if the earth is excessively dry, particularly close to its roots.
This plant’s easygoing nature goes beyond that. It flourishes in a variety of environments, preferring dry hot climates. Extreme cold or overly high humidity are the only conditions it cannot tolerate.
9. Japanese Silver Grass
Japanese silver grass, also known as Eulalia grass, is another popular clump-forming grass. It has elegant feathery seed heads that blend beautifully into any environment. The upright stems are a sight on their own, despite the lack of feathered plumes throughout the winter. Because of their height, they’re ideal for screens and boundaries, but wherever they go, they’ll make a tremendous focal point.
Warm zones and temperatures above chilly zones are ideal for Japanese silver grass, which thrives in zones 5-9. It requires a lot of sunlight, but it can tolerate partial shade. A sunny patch in your garden is preferred if you want to get all that this grass has to offer.
As long as the soil drains well, this decorative grass isn’t picky. With moist loamy soil, you’ll never go wrong. You should water your Japanese silver grass sufficiently so that the soil stays moist, but not excessively so that it becomes waterlogged, as is the case with most garden plants.
10. Northern Sea Oats
Northern sea oats are an attractive grass for your pond or water feature that you should consider. The flat, green seed heads of this grass resemble wheat heads and are very interesting. Its bamboo-like leaves create a fascinating texture around your pond’s edge.
USDA zones 5-9 are ideal for northern sea oats, which prefer full sun. The soil you choose isn’t too fussy, as long as it’s rich in nutrients. Northern sea oats are a versatile grass that tolerate both wet and dry environments, which is surprising.
You’ll need well-draining soil and the same watering schedule as the rest of your garden if you grow northern sea oats as a land plant.
For whatever type of summer garden you may have, there is an ornamental grass. Ornamental grasses have your back whether you need a filler for your container garden or a little edging piece. Most of them are fairly simple to care for. These ten grasses will provide year-round variety to your garden, even in the summer heat.