I need help with selecting my 1st ornamental grass for my areas

hostaLes(5)June 30, 2012

Hi everyone: I am new here on ornamental grasses but a frequent poster in the Hosta Forum. I have over the years had a genuine interest in ornamental grasses but have been frustrated. My problems have been with hardiness and water requirements - I think!

I live just far enough south and west of Chicago to not share much in the way of weather with the city. I have to think in terms of Z5-Z6. I would like to have some form of ornamental grasses as accent plants in either my shaded hosta beds or direct sun areas. I prefer them to any form of shrub. So I like bulky grasses, either in high mound or tall fountain form. I like the grasses with large flower heads or nodding heads depending on form.

My problem has always been with hardiness and water requirements. I have bought perennial grasses that have not survived winters or some of the hot dry summers either here in Illinois or in northern Arkansas where I have lived prior to here.

So I would like to be given suggestions by you grass experts on what you would suggest I try in-

a) my shaded hosta beds as accents,and

b) as accents in my sunny garden locations.

My soil drains very nicely, being not heavy with clay, but it is not sandy. My fines giving it tilthe is ground coal. Just about everything I have grown has grown well withought heavy fertilization. Along one fence line heavilyy shaded by a huge Silver Maple I have sea oats growing unaided but they do not satisfy my garden requirements.

I'll lurk a bit and listen, and will answer any questions you might have, since I don't think I may have given enough information.

Thanks in advance.


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I suggest spending some time studying the Ornamental Grass Comparison Chart (link below) listed by Bluestem.ca

They specialize in grasses for cold climates, and their website has tons of good information and photographs.

Also look at their Landscape Uses section, to find lists of grasses for specific landscape conditions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ornamental Grass Comparison Chart

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 12:08PM
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Thanks donn. I've just scanned through the list,copied it and pinned the Bluestem site to my favorites bar. So now I can take my time indoors on these really hot days studying which grasses will stand my winters. (whew-just came in from a little work defining a garden. This is the sound of me wiping the sweat off my forehead! And this all B4 7am)


    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 8:06AM
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