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ornamental grass in pots?

Posted by KateinOH z6 OH (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 14, 05 at 10:14

Has anyone tried to over-winter ornamental grasses in pots? I'm in Dayton, and must be in a micro-climate, because I've been able to successfully grow some zone 7 plants here. (Although last April almost took me out- I spent a long evening before the Cinci Flower show trying to cover everything up!) :-) I'm thinking I should give it a try.... They are large faux stone (foam) pots, and I was thinking of putting fountain grass in them. I was told at a garden center that the roots would freeze and they'd die, but the pots are insulated, on the ground, and up against the front of my house. I think they'll be okay. Any thoughts?
Thanks! Kate

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: ornamental grass in pots?

I've read that you can overwinter tender grasses in a pot buried in the ground and then cover with a heavy layer of mulch come first frost. I haven't ever tried this myself, but I will be trying it with some Purple Fountain grass and alrady potted them up and buried to the rim of the pot.

If you can't bury the pots, you might try wrapping in bubble wrap and place in a protected place like garage or under a porch. I'd think you'd want to avoid any place that would allow snow or winter rain to collect. That could cause heaving or rot.

Good luck!

RE: ornamental grass in pots?

I don't think I can bury them- they're pretty big! But I could wrap them.... Although I think I'd be compelled to cover the bubble wrap with something inconspicuous. They are on either side of my front door, and it would probably drive me nuts to look at bubble wrapped pots all winter! I'm sure there are lots of cold hardy grasses available out there, too. I'll see what I can find that's rated for a zone 4 or 5...

RE: ornamental grass in pots?

Could you bring the tender grasses inside? I just read that you can try to bring purple pennisetum indoors over the winter in colder zones by cutting it down to about 3in. and bringing the entire pot into a cool (45-60 degree) basement. I haven't tried this myself, but I might try it next year...

RE: ornamental grass in pots?

I have over-wintered several varieties of ornamental grass over the years. I don't use any protection but these grasses are pretty hardy. The only thing that you need to be aware of is that grasses have a tough, fibrous root system and can crack a clay pot. So, be sure the pot is a sturdy one or be prepared to re-pot when the grass gets too large.

As far as Purple Fountain Grass goes, I think it's too much trouble to try to over-winter it. For what a small pot of it costs, it's easier to buy new plants in the spring than to try to over-winter it. But, if you must try, let us know how it turns out. Good luck.


RE: ornamental grass in pots?

I'm actually not trying to over-winter purple fountain grass, (which is lovely- I may have to buy some next spring!) but rather a hardier grass. What I ended up buying was Panicum 'Shenandoah'. Steve, I'm glad to hear that your grass has done fine. I can't wait to get mine in its new home! Thanks for the advice.

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