need something 4 to 5 feet tall and sort of narrow

christie_sw_mo(Z6)April 17, 2005

I have been looking up info on Calamagrostis 'Avalanche' (Feather Reed Grass) and like that one. I'm not sure about the height. If it says "four foot clump", is that the height before it sends up plumes? I'd like to find something around four foot tall not counting the plumes that stays relatively narrow, so if anyone has any suggestions for me to look up, please post.

On size descriptions - Do most catalogs give the height before plumes or after? Some are kind enough to give both but when they only list one height, how do you know which one it is? grrrrr

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cailinriley(z3 Calgary AB)

Hi, Christie. I highly recommend any of the Calamagrostis hybrids. My favourite is 'Karl Foerster'. It doesn't have variegated leaves but (at least in my experience with that variety and the variegated 'Overdam') that makes it a taller plant.

I think the problem with giving heights, with or without plumes, is that the climate, growing conditions, etc. will largely determine how large a plant grows. I garden in Zone 3, and few perennials achieve the height and width listed in catalogues. That being said, 'Karl Foerster' grows quickly each spring into a stately plant, even in the Frozen North.

I have 5 clumps, so far (I'm planning to divide them soon--there's no such thing as too much of this grass), and I just cut down the dried plumes last weekend to let the new growth come up. We don't normally get heavy, wet snow here, so the ornamental grasses look gorgeous all winter long.

I've included a link to one of my favourite nurseries (in Canada). It gives very detailed information about the grass, along with some lovely photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: Karl Foerster feather-reed grass

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 1:17AM
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Thanks for that website. Their "Grass comparison chart" made it easy to easy to look through the list for different heights. I have a Karl Foerster that's probably big enough to divide now but I just can't bring myself to do it. It's just now starting to look established. Maybe I will come across another one at a nursery but if I have to order something, it's more tempting to get something that I don't already have like 'Avalanche'. : ) That's good reasoning isn't it? I need suggestions on where to order from that's cheap but labels their plants correctly. I don't mind if it's small as long as it's the right thing. Digging Dog has it for $7 but they have a $30 minimum order.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 11:51AM
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