What ornamental grasses look good together?

Answered by John Hunt

When it comes to combining ornamental grasses, the options are endless. There are several factors to consider, such as height, texture, color, and sun exposure, but here are some combinations that I find particularly pleasing:

1. Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) and Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum): These two grasses create a beautiful contrast in both height and texture. Feather Reed Grass has upright, narrow leaves that turn golden in the fall, while Switchgrass has wider leaves that take on shades of red, orange, and purple.

2. Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca) and Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima): This combination adds a touch of softness and movement to the garden. Blue Fescue has fine, blue-gray foliage that forms compact mounds, while Mexican Feather Grass produces delicate, wispy, golden-green blades that sway gracefully in the breeze.

3. Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) and Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis): This pairing creates a beautiful contrast in both color and texture. Japanese Forest Grass has arching, cascading foliage in shades of green, gold, or variegated, while Maiden Grass offers tall, upright blades that turn coppery in the fall.

4. Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium): This combination adds a burst of color to the garden. Purple Fountain Grass features dramatic, burgundy-red foliage and fluffy, pinkish-purple plumes, while Little Bluestem offers contrasting blue-green leaves that turn a vibrant mix of orange, red, and purple in the autumn.

5. Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’) and Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides): This pairing creates a striking contrast between the bold, horizontal stripes of Zebra Grass and the fluffy, bottlebrush-like plumes of Fountain Grass. Zebra Grass also turns a lovely golden color in the fall, while Fountain Grass offers a range of cultivars with varying plume colors, from creamy white to deep purple.

Remember to consider the growing conditions of each grass, especially their sunlight and water requirements, to ensure they will thrive together. It’s also important to give them enough space to grow and showcase their unique characteristics.

These are just a few examples of ornamental grass combinations that can add beauty and interest to your autumn garden. Feel free to experiment and create your own unique combinations based on your personal preferences and the specific conditions of your garden. Happy planting!