Best grasses for Atlanta area?

maylandAugust 26, 2009

My late summer/early fall garden seems to be lacking color. I have knockout roses, dahlias, echinacea, rudbeckia and agastache flowering, but lots of big stretches that are just green (shrubs that aren't currently flowering).

Aside from adding some more late summer flowers, I think I should add some grasses.

I'd like to use some US natives, but i presume most are native to the west/prairies, which is a rather different climate. Last fall I planted a Muhly grass and it didn't come back in spring -- does this grass typically not do well in this area, or should I give it another try (I'd love to grow it, its beautiful).

Any other suggestions for grasses that do well round here, and are quite "showy" in late summer/fall? I am looking for anything in the 3-6' height range.

Also a question about non-native grasses - are any actually invasive here? I'm OK with planting non-natives as long as they are not thugs.

Thanks very much!

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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I have a clump of blue fescue doing very well in a dry spot that has really excellent, rich soil.

Muhly grass is supposed to do very well here, but I do not think it likes clay.

Here's a link that doesn't include any native grasses that I can see:

I'm also looking to add ornamental grasses to my garden!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 2:44PM
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Thanks for the link, GGG! I will try Muhly grass again and hope for the best (soil is not too clay-heavy). I also need some container ideas so i might use Fescue in a pot.

I did a bit of browsing and came up with this list, which I'm trying to choose from -

Natives -
-Eragrostis elliottii and/or spectablis (blue and purple love grass)
-Panicum virgatum (switch grass) - blue or reddish color
-Schizachyrium scoparium "The Blues" (little bluestem)

Non-natives -
-Calamagrostis "Overdam" (feather reed grass)
-Deschampsia "Bronze Veil" (tufted hair grass)
-Miscanthus "Morning Light"
-Pennisetum alopecuroides "National Arboretum" (black fountain grass)

Shorties -
-Carex "frosted curls" and
-Carex "Lemon Zest"

Of these, I can only find some suggestion of invasiveness for Miscanthus, although I'm not sure whether that would be invasive here or not.

I dont know of a good supplier in town for grasses, so I will probably order online once I narrow it down (all of this list came from Lazy S's page).

If anyone has any feedback on these specific plants (or other suggestions), I'd love to hear.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 4:07PM
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I just have to say that I'm not experienced with grasses (native or otherwise) and Muhly grass has been struggling for me too (hasn't died, but I think they were in too much shade).

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 4:29PM
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I have seen fun pictures of purple fountain grass. Does anyone know if that does well here?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 7:07AM
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Bagsmom, if that Purple Fountain Grass is Pennisetum setaceum, then it is unfortunately an annual here. But it does look lovely.

Thanks Esh, I had wondered if you were growing any native grasses with success. I will probably just try a couple and see how they do.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:53AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

mayland, make sure you also do a google check for invasive grasses either in Georgia or the Southeast. Some move really quickly here, and a simple search can save you some energy. Grasses can be hard to divide.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 5:01PM
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