Grasses for Pots in the Shade?

peg_in_oregon(zone 8/OR coast)September 2, 2006

Here's my dilemma. I just bought a gorgeous natural stone fountain. It's 3 layers of waterfalls. Next spring I want to place some pots around it filled with plants & flowers. The flowers are easy -- impatients. But what I need is something to put in pots behind the fountain to create "green". I love ornamental grasses but don't know much about them. In this spot they would only get about 2-3 hours of morning sun. Is there anything that would work? Preferably grasses that get around 4 feet high or so.

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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

Not to talk you out of grasses but ...
For that height and that little sun why don't you consider using bamboo in pots as your back-drop. In your climate you can probably find some that will be evergreen for you and therefore provide a much longer season of interest than a grass might. Of course bamboo is a grass so there you go :o)
Just a thought.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 11:33PM
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peg_in_oregon(zone 8/OR coast)

Bamboo is a good thought - & we have a nursery here in town that carries alot of it. I just thought it had to be in the sun. I love the black bamboo!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 12:20PM
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Bamboo is an excellent choice but even in containers, black bamboo will exceed 4'. But there are others that would work and be more in keeping with your height restrictions. You could also incorporate a few of the wood sedges - Carex secta, 'Ice Dance' or 'Sparkler' are ideal for containers for a shady location and evergreen as well. And various juncus species are perfect for a water garden, also evergreen. And as long as you container it, Equisetum is a natural for this situation - both it and the juncus can actually be submerged in the water feature during the growing season, if you have the room.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 8:25AM
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Similar situation for me. I have a shady, raised compost bed (mostly grass and leaf clippings, and food scraps) that I want to screen from view. Research says O. grasses won't work well (too shady) except maybe northen sea oats? Problem is, I've seen pics of that grass and I'm not impressed. Maybe I should go with bamboo? It has to be upright, preferably colorful, and survive winter winds and winter sun (the shade trees are maples that will shed).

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 9:54AM
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I am interested in perhaps trying some bamboo in pots, too. There's good info on the bamboo forum for that, in case you haven't looked there.

Laibach, I saw photos of Chasmanthium latifolium (N. Sea Oats) on the Web, and was not impressed either. However, after seeing it recommended so much, I checked it out in person. I now have two clumps of these and they're really lovely. Pictures don't seem to do it justice. It's quite bamboo-like and elegant.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 7:28PM
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Good eye, Bird. Sea Oats are a beautiful grass, and ultra-easy to grow. I started another 16 clumps of them this year, and intend to divide several already established clumps next Spring. I want at least a couple of massed colonies of them. They're so adaptable to sun, shade, soil, etc..

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 7:41PM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

Not to get off subject, but Donn, have you ever split Sea Oats before? I have a clump that has been established for 4 years now and I'm going to have to move it because I planted it too close to my M. Gracillimus and it's getting overtaken fast. Since I'm going to have it out of the ground anyway. I thought I'd split it and have two or three clumps to have what you refer to as a mass of it. Is it just as easy as digging up the clump and hacking the rootball into two or three chunks ??


    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 9:29AM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

Not Donn but, I have split a 'few' Sea Oats ...
Actually easier to split once you have the whole clump up. Mine develop almost a woody crown which is much easier to wack into chunks with an axe once it is out of the ground.
Wait till spring ....

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 10:17AM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

Will do, A.... THANKS !!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 11:06AM
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nobody has mentioned ...Hakonechloa macra - "Hakone Grass", which doesn't get as tall as you want but does very well in mostly shade and in pots, in Japan it is used this way alot... maybe you can add this also

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 8:58PM
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