When you think of grass, you probably imagine the run-of-the-mill lawn grasses that we’re tasked with cutting week after week. Many folks seem to forget about ornamental grasses— the fancier leafy greens that aren’t meant to be cut back regularly. With so many different ornamental grasses available in all sorts of colors and textures, these garden plants are anything but boring. They look great in garden beds as well as container arrangements, so have some fun experimenting with these different grasses and the many ways to display them.
WHY GROW DECORATIVE TALL GRASS PLANTS?
For starters, upright ornamental grasses add tons of visual interest to a landscape. Having some tall, spiky strands of grass and subtly colored tufts and blossoms emerging from the center of a sea of mounded bright flowers can really balance out the shape of your garden and add a little pizazz. The best part? Ornamental grasses are super low-maintenance, so you can fill up free space with these eye-catching plants without much effort or upkeep. They’re also very hardy and tolerant of the many different weather extremes we deal with here in Pennsylvania, so they’ll stay standing tall through rain or shine. Many ornamental grasses are also native to Allentown, so they’re pest-resistant and don’t require regular applications of fertilizer. Plus, they’re born to thrive on the rainfall they receive, so there’s rarely any need to give them extra water. Native plants aren’t just great for those of us who prefer low-maintenance gardens— they’re also perfect for attracting pollinators because the familiarity of naturally-occurring plants is highly appealing to bees, butterflies and birds.
OUR FAVORITE TYPES OF UPRIGHT ORNAMENTAL GRASSES THAT GROW IN ALLENTOWN
There’s a never-ending list of types of ornamental grass, from the smaller mounded varieties to the colossal giant tall grasses. We’ve made the decision process a little easier for you by putting together some recommended favorites for Allentown gardeners.
Pennisetum Hameln: This dramatic dwarf fountain grass has wispy plumes that bloom early in the season, and lovely billowing foliage that turns a rusty golden tone as autumn approaches. It does best in full sun and makes a fabulous border plant, but it’s also just the right size to grow in a container, so you have plenty of options for where to place it in your landscape.
Maiden Grass Zebra: A plant that blooms well into winter? Sign me up! This decorative tall grass proudly boasts pink and white flowers from August all the way until February. It gets its name from the horizontally-striped leaves, banded with metallic gold and green. Its distinctive pattern makes it a great accent plant, and it looks awesome as a border plant—especially around ponds.
Liriope Big Blue Grass: Strappy green leaves and lavender toned flower spikes similar to the hyacinth make this autumn-blooming perennial grass a real favorite. It doesn’t grow too tall, usually reaching between 1-2 feet, but it always turns heads with its showy display. So long as it has well-draining soil that’s rich in nutrients, it will grow beautifully from spring until fall, lying dormant in the winter.
Ornamental grasses add a little something special to your garden with interesting growing patterns that add height and texture, and subtle colors that don’t compete with your more vivacious blossoms. Stop by Lehigh Valley Home and Garden Center to see all the fantastic varieties we carry, requiring little-to-no maintenance all season long!