When most think of grass they think of lawn sod. However, gardeners should think about the brilliant displays that ornamental grass can give a landscape. Grass plants can be short and make for good borders or tall and stately making for a great privacy screen. Some use ornamental grass to bookend a house or driveway. Whatever the use, examples of grass plants can usually be found in traditional landscapes.
Palm grass or bristle grass is also known as Setaria palmifolia. It is an easy and fast growing evergreen. It can reach 8 to 10 feet high with pleated leaves that are palm-like in appearance. There is a spike of plumes at the top. It works well in a tropical landscape setting. To plant a palm grass plant, choose full sun or partial shade with a moist soil. It can be propagated by seed or by division as needed. Hardiness ranges for palm grass include USDA zones 8 through 11.
Indian wood-oats or northern sea oats is also known as Chasmanthium latifolium. It is a shade-tolerant perennial grass. It grows 2 to 5 feet high in a clump form with the leaves looking like flat oats. Flowers are in flat clusters and turn a red-bronze in the winter. To plant, choose a moist soil with full sun but it will tolerate dry soil and partial shade conditions. It can be propagated by clump division or by seed. Hardiness ranges for Indian wood-oats include USDA zones 4 through 9.
Pampas grass is also known as Cortaderia selloana. It is an easy, fast growing evergreen that is drought-tolerant and perennial. It can reach 12 feet high with narrow leaves that grow in a fountain form. Plumes of feathery foliage will be gold-brown in the winter. It should be planted in well-drained fertile soil with full sun. It tolerates light shade. Propagate by seed or by division. Hardiness ranges for pampas grass include USDA zones 8 through 10.
Liriope, or border grass, is also known as Liriope muscari. It is an evergreen perennial that grows 10 to 18 inches tall. Leaves are dark green and ribbon-like. Flowers can be white, purple or violet and stand tall in a spike. After flowering, black or white berries occur. It should be planted in fertile soil that has been well-worked with sun or shade conditions. Propagate by berries planted or by division. Hardiness ranges for liriope include USDA zones 7 through 11.
T.M. Samuels has been a freelance writer since 1993. She has published works in "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living" and "Mature Years," and is the author of a gardening book. Samuels studied pre-medicine at Berry College.