Ornamental Grasses come in two types, warm season grasses and cool season grasses.       Within these categories, some are 'clump forming', and others are 'runners'.

Which is which is dependant on when the plant is actively growing.  Cool season grasses start growing in late winter or early spring, when the soil temperature is 10-18* C, and the air temperature is 16-24*C.  Warm season grasses start their growth when the soil temperature is 21-32*C, and the air temperature is 26-35*C.  The difference is how they use light energy to make sugar (from water & CO2) to fuel their growth. 

There, so much for the technical stuff...now for the fun part!

Click here to learn more about the value of using ornamental grasses in your landscape.

I'll list the grasses by their botanical name, with the (common name) in brackets, as it eliminates any confusion.

Click on the names of the grasses to see descriptions and pictures.

COOL SEASON GRASSES                                                WARM SEASON GRASSES

Calamagrostis (feather reed grass)                                                             Andropogon (bluestem)

Carex (sedge)                                                                                            Chasmanthium lat. (wild oat grass)

Deschampsia (tufted hair grass)                                                                 Eragrostis (love grass)

Festuca (fescues)                                                                                      Erianthus ravennae (hardy pampas grass)

Helictotrichon (blue oat grass)                                                                   Hakonechloa macra (Japanese forest grass)

Hierochloe odorata (sweetgrass)                                                                Imperata cylindrica (Japanese blood grass)         

Hordeum (foxtail barley)                                                                           Miscanthus sinensis (maiden grass)

Juncus (rush)                                                                                            Muhlenbergia (pink muhly grass)

Koeleria (blue hair grass)                                                                           Panicum (switchgrass)          

Leymus (lyme grass, wild rye)                                                                     Pennisetum (fountain grass)

Melica (melic grass)                                                                                   Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass)

Molinia (purple moor grass)                                                                        Spartina (cordgrass)

Nassella (needle grass)                                                                              Tridens flavus (purpletop)

Phalaris (reed canary grass)                                                                                 


                                                                                ANNUAL GRASSES                                         

Cortaderia richardii (toe-toe grass)

Cortaderia rosea (pink pampas grass)

Cymbopogon citratus (lemon grass)

Pennisetum - some (fountain grass)

Stipa (needle grass)


Juncus, Luzula, and some Carex are not technically grasses (and they are evergreen).