Ornamental Grasses

“There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Whenever the word “grass” is uttered, our thoughts instinctively go to the traditional, green grass that adorns lawns worldwide. We think of the constant mowing and maintenance that eats away at our weekends, and we can’t help but cringe away at the thought. However, with interest growing for ornamental varieties, it’s time we take a second look at what grass can really offer us.

Ornamental Grasses:

Unlike their cookie-cutter, short and green cousins, ornamental grasses come in all sorts of shapes, colors, and sizes to add decoration to your yard. They can range in color from green to red, and they even come in such shows-topping shades as blue and black. They can come as short as a lawn, or they can grow above your head. Whatever appearance you want from your grass, chances are there is a plant waiting for you.

A bunch of tall white ornamental grasses


Their appearances alone make them a beautiful addition for any garden, but they also have the added benefit of being some of the easiest plants to grow. Much like typical turf grass, ornamental grasses can handle a wide scope of weather changes, powering through even when our annuals and perennials may be suffering. However, unlike lawn grasses, these decorative delights won’t need to be trimmed every week to look pristine.

In the vast prairies of Iowa, we are no strangers to grass, and the grasses are no strangers to us. In fact, some of the most popular varieties of ornamental grasses are natives to our area. This means these plants are seasoned professionals at growing here without extra watering, grooming, or fertilizing. Our local pollinators also love them, so you can even expect to see more friendly faces buzzing around your yard.

Pictured left: Karl Forester Reed Grass by Patrick Standish https://www.flickr.com/photos/patrickstandish/3850363181, Pictured right: Prairie Dropseed by Ron Frazier https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomronworldwide/35513739292

Karl Forester Reed Grass near a stair case and prairie drop seed ornamental grasses growing in a garden

Our Top Selections:

Feather Reed Grass, also known as Karl Forester Reed Grass, is a bestseller in the world of ornamental grasses. It boasts beautiful, tan-coloured tufts sitting atop tall blades of green. To add a touch of pink to your garden, try the Korean Feather Reed Grass.

Prairie Dropseed is a lower growing grass to enjoy in your garden. You will love the fine, airy look of the bright green blades that proudly display plumes of light brown on top in the summer.

Northwind Switch Grass is a brilliantly bright grass that grows straight and tall to add drama to your garden. The bold blades start off olive in the growing season, with light seedhead tufts to add texture. In the fall, however, they transform to a blazing yellow that simply looks fantastic.

Purple Maiden Grass is shorter-standing grass that, as the name implies, produces purple tufts of color. With this beautiful grass, though, you’re not just getting one color only. In fact, over the season the purple tufts fade to a wonderful white, while the green blades transform to orange-red in the fall.

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

Other Grasses We Love:

With ornate ornamentals like these, it’s easy to once again become excited by the thought of growing grass. These plants give us the chance to experiment with color and texture in our yards, without any constant maintenance and grooming. To learn more about ornamental grasses or to bring some home to your yard, stop by our garden center today.

Pictured below: Switchgrass by Matt Lavin https://www.flickr.com/photos/plant_diversity/3912256151

3 Switchgrass ornamental grasses on a front lawn

Ted Lare Garden Center