Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses are beautiful plants that add texture, softness, color, movement and even rustling sound to any garden.  Grasses provide great accents and contrast to flowers and shrubs in the spring and summer months and also provide interest to the fall and winter landscape when other plants have lost their leaves.  Most grasses are sold as container-grown plants in #1 and #5 sizes and are easy to grow and maintain.  At Fort Collins Nursery we have more than 50 wonderful varieties to choose from including the following:


Shenandoah Switch Grass

Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’

  • Height: 4-5 ft.
  • Width: 2-3 ft.
  • Description: Shenandoah Switch Grass is prized for its unmatched foliage color. In the spring, fast growing green leaves emerge with red tips. The leaves darken through the summer and produce airy, reddish-pink plumes before turning burgundy in fall. Shenandoah Switch Grass is perfect for mass background plantings or in containers.
  • Light: Partial to full sun
  • Water: Once established, needs only occasional watering
  • Zones: 4-9

Cheyenne Sky Switch Grass

Panicum Virgatum ‘Cheyenne Sky’

  • Height: 2.5-3 ft. 
  • Width: 18-20 in. 
  • Description: Cheyenne Sky Switch Grass is an absolutely beautiful grass that forms a dense, upright clump of blue-green leaves that turn wine red in early summer. Purple flower panicles appear just above the foliage in late summer. Cheyenne Sky Switch Grasses are drought and salt tolerant, deer resistant, and provide protection for wintering songbirds. This petite red grass is ideal for containers and its root system provides erosion control.
  • Light: Partial to full sun
  • Water: Moderate to low
  • Zones: 4-9

Avalanche Feather Reed Grass

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Avalanche’

  • Height: 3-4 ft. (Flower stalks 6 ft.)
  • Width: 1-2 ft.
  • Description: Avalanche Feather Reed Grass creates stunning vertical effects with feathery stalks that emerge reddish-brown in spring before turning gold in fall. Stiff, variegated foliage with white centers and green margins forms a dense, narrow clump. Avalanche Feather Reed Grass is excellent for use as a landscape accent or a very dramatic mass planting. Its plumes make an attractive addition to cut flower arrangements as well.
  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Moderate
  • Zones: 4-9

Prairie Dropseed Grass

Sporobolus heterolepis

  • Height: 2-3 ft.
  • Width: 2.5-3 ft. 
  • Description: Prairie Dropseed is a fine-textured grass with tall, slender stalks that display airy, light brown, remarkably fragrant panicles in late summer. Its dense, mounded foliage turns deep copper-gold in autumn. Prairie Dropseed can be used as an attractive accent, or an easy care groundcover, if planted en masse. This low maintenance grass is long-lived and rarely self-seeds.
  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Moderate to low 
  • Zones: 3 – 8

Originally published on August 1st, 2018. Updated on August 5th, 2020.