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Ornamental grasses

Posted by lyban Montreal (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 22, 07 at 14:14

I would ike to put just a few ornamental grasses in my backyard this summer.
This is not for a pond area but more for a shady area that tends to stay a bit damp.
I do not want somthing that will take over the yard. Just some nice grasses to line a few areas. Someone mentioned Zebra to me but I have no idea what that is.
Can anyone help me.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ornamental grasses

Here's a link that might be helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zebra grass

RE: Ornamental grasses

You could consider sedges that look like grass but aren't, or japanese iris which do look like grass with flowers. or if you like reeds, how about papyrus


RE: Ornamental grasses

You might rule out some big Miscanthus, since they like sun. One of my favorites, but probably one for you to skip in the shade.

RE: Ornamental grasses

I like Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) - it's two to three feet tall and does well in shade.

If you want something big and impressive, Pampas Grass will do fine in shade, but it is a slow grower here. You often need to buy a big pot to get the big clump.

As a suggestion, since I see you are in Montreal, go to the Botanical Gardens (in a month or two). They have an ornamental grass section and you can see what you like the look of and give it a try. They will also have a garden and plant sale there the weekend of May 25th, and you will almost certainly be able to buy some nice grasses.


RE: Ornamental grasses

Is there a pampass grass that will reach its full potential here? I thought it needed at LEAST zone 7 which was even borderline.

RE: Ornamental grasses

  • Posted by marric Z5b Ontario (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 25, 07 at 7:58

Triple b: I have Northern Pampas grass at the cottage in Z5a. Our soil is heavy clay which we are constantly amending. The Pampas grass is now 6 years old and about 8' tall. It does not spread much but now, after 6 years, is ready for dividing. I'm not thrilled with the 'flowers' on it but I do like the height. I prefer the plumes of 'Cloud Nine' or 'Rothschild' (not sure of the spelling on that one). Marg

RE: Ornamental grasses

Most varieties of Pampas Grass (botanical name Cortaderia) are zone 8 or warmer and won't grow as far north as Ont or Quebec.

What is sold in nurseries in Canada and called Hardy Pampas Grass is actually "Erianthus ravennae" or Ravennae Grass. It is hardy to zone 5 (-20*F), grows 10-14' high and is an extremely hardy native prairie grass. The gray-green foliage turns bronze in the fall and the plumes are creamy white, with stems that are strong enough to provide excellent winter interest.

I have a clump of Ravennae grass in my garden that started as a tiny plant in a 3" pot and over the last 6 years has become about 3' in diameter at the base and is a spectacular 10' tall. It is very late in coming up every year, showing green finally around the end of May, beginning of June but then grows quickly.

For your shady conditions, you could consider growing Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' or Japanese Forest Grass. It forms stunning cascading clumps of green and gold variegated foliage, about 14" high. It will grow in full shade but the variegation is best in part shade, bright shade or locations where it will get morning sun.

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Forest Grass

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