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 dozens of wonderful varieties to choose from including the following:


ShenandoahSwitchGrass_NLShenandoah Switch Grass

Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’

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.
  • Size: Fast growing 4 ft. tall in bloom, and 2 to 3 ft. wide.
  • Zones: 4-9



Morning Light Miscanthus

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’

Description: Morning Light Miscanthus forms dense clumps of slender, green blades with creamy white margins and mid-veins that create a shimmering silvery appearance. Its reddish seed plumes persist through winter and provide an interesting accent to the bare winterscape. Morning Light Miscanthus adds visual excitement wherever it is used and provides wonderful texture for beds and borders.

  • Light: Partial to full sun.
  • Water: Best with regular watering – weekly or more often in extreme heat.
  • Size: Forms clumps 5 ft. tall, 3 to 4 ft. wide; plumes reach 6 ft. tall.
  • Zones: 5-9



Avalanche Feather Reed Grass

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Avalanche’

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: Water regularly- weekly, or more often in extreme heat.
  • Size: Fast growing, 3 to 4 ft. tall, 1 to 2 ft. wide; flower stalks to 6 ft.
  • Zones: 4-9


Originally published on July 31, 2017.  Updated on August 1, 2018.

6 Responses to “Ornamental Grasses”

  1. Carrie Dubberley says:

    Is this the stunning vertical grass all over CSU?

    • jesse says:

      Not sure which grass mentioned in the article you’re referring to, plus there are quite a few different varieties of tall stunning grasses around CSU, so I’d be hard-pressed to tell you for sure. Fairly sure I’ve seen all there of these varieties over there at one time or another.

  2. JoAnn Pazur says:

    When is a good time to transplant ornamental grass

    • jesse says:

      Now is a great time – they’re done growing leaves for the season so they can put all their energy into roots for a strong start in the spring

  3. Allan Weaver says:

    I hope you can source Thin Man Indian Grass (Plant Select 2017) for next year. I have the perfect spot for it along a garden wall.

    • jesse says:

      We do too! It is a fantastic grass, but has been hard to find. Hopefully there is more propagation material available for next year’s crop.

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