While ornamental grasses first showed up as an unproven landscape trend, they have settled in as a mainstay within Colorado’s landscape. Many of these grasses offer what Colorado gardeners crave by being low-water, gardener-friendly plants that bring their own subtle and often shimmery character to our gardens. Learn more about ornamental grasses and see five varieties in this Plant Select® video featuring Denver Botanic Gardens’ Dan Johnson.
All the grasses featured in this video were selected for gardens in the west. They thrive in our high and dry conditions with little care, provide multi-season beauty and offer enchanting movement in many types of gardens. Ornamental grasses bring many desirable design qualities such as structure when used a backdrop to other plants, a strong vertical element and movement throughout most seasons. They will also fill up a fair amount of space in varying sun/shade exposures without requiring much water in return. Many of these grasses are habitat friendly by providing pollen for pollinators and seeds for birds. Some of them are deer resistant which adds to their desirability in locations where deer are prevalent. Planting tips
- Grasses don’t need to be separated into a designated “grass garden.” Place grasses among other perennials where they can serve as a border, a backdrop or a vertical element among other plants. Create a grouping of three to five plants as you might with other perennials.
Avoid planting grasses very late in the growing season as they tend not to do well with late-season planting. For best results, plant them before September 15 so they have sufficient time to get well established before winter sets in.
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