Ornamental grasses are the multi-taskers of the landscape, combining useful features and low-maintenance beauty. They’re great for adding privacy, stabilizing your soil, and adding a decorative element that sways in the breeze. Here are some of our favourite ornamental grass varieties for Powell River!
What Are Ornamental Grasses?
As their name implies, ornamental grasses are decorative grass-type plants that are very different from the lawn grasses found across North America. Ornamental grasses don’t produce the same eye-catching features, like flowers or fruit, that many other landscape plants do, which means they often get overlooked. However, veteran gardeners know them as a horticultural secret weapon—in fact, ornamental grasses are some of the most underrated plants in the landscape! They can serve many roles, from pretty to practical. Here are some fabulous varieties for improving privacy in your landscape, preventing soil erosion, decorating low-maintenance yards, and adding a “thrilling” component to your patio containers!
Ornamental Grasses for Privacy
If you want to add an element of privacy without building a wall or adding a dense row of trees, these grasses grow tall and are the perfect middle-ground solution for a soft privacy barrier.
Best for the warmer areas of Powell River, pampas grass is having a real moment as a dried cut flower, but it also performs well as a privacy screen in the landscape! This clumping ornamental grass can grow up to 8 or even 12 feet tall with a 4-6 foot spread.
Pink Hair Grass
With its namesake pink plumes, this fun ornamental grass adds a lot of whimsy around the borders of outdoor rooms, hot tubs, and children’s playhouses. At 3-4 feet in height, this is a shorter privacy grass that is excellent for layering in front of taller ornamental grass to reduce noise and visibility. This grass performs best with a long, hot growing season.
This grass is named for its interesting striped pattern and is both beautiful and impressive. It reaches 5-8 feet in height and 4-6 feet in spread, making it an excellent choice for planting along low fences or adding privacy wherever you need it in the landscape.
Ornamental Grasses for Soil Integrity
Hold your soil in place with these functional grasses that are also attractive! The roots prevent soil erosion and help create a strong foundation for your other plants.
Here are our favourites:
‘Fireworks’ Fountain Grass
An absolute stunner with pink, green, red, and white tones, this colourful erosion-controlling ornamental grass forms tight clumps that do best in warmer microclimates. It blooms purple tassel-like plumes in the summertime.
Variegated Palm Sedge
If you’re in a cooler microclimate, this elegant grass with yellow margins is perfect for controlling soil erosion while attracting birds and pollinators to your yard.
Ornamental Grasses for Low-Maintenance Landscapes
Keep it simple with these easy-to-maintain plants that add texture and interest with minimal work.
This drought-tolerant ornamental grass perfectly complements cool-toned plants and exterior paint colours. It’s perfectly represented by its name, as it has gorgeous blue-hued foliage.
‘Karl Forester’ Feather Reed Grass
An excellent choice for damp or heavy clay soils, this popular ornamental grass adds texture and beauty to areas that are a little too wet for most other perennials.
Northern Sea Oats
This laid-back ornamental grass adds beautiful movement and texture to foundations and border plantings. Once established, it’s virtually maintenance-free!
Ornamental Grasses for Containers
Purple Fountain Grass
A container favourite, the rich violet colour of this ornamental grass’s firm foliage and plume make a positively exciting thriller plant for potted arrangements. They also make beautiful, long-lasting cut plants for bouquets.
New Zealand Flax
While not a true grass, this ornamental plant’s sword-like foliage has a similar property to true grasses and provides a burst of tropical foliage in colours such as green, yellow, red, and copper.
Blue Oat Grass
This fine-textured ornamental grass is beautiful for balancing out bold container plants and softening potted arrangements. Its soft blue colour is also suitable for pairing with cooler-toned flowers.
There are many more great varieties of ornamental grasses for British Columbia gardens, many of which you’ll find here at Mother Nature! Plan your visit today to find the perfect grass for your landscape.