These bold ornamental grasses native to many parts of the U.S. can satisfy gardeners wishing to feature native plants, as well as those who simply want pretty plants. Their self-supporting, upright growth is best in full sun. Like other ornamental grasses, these stand through the winter months with dormant leaves and plumes and provide seeds for feeding birds. Cut back to the ground in late winter or early spring. Divide in spring before growth begins every three to four years or as needed. Deer resistant.
bitter panic grass
- Native to sand dunes in all coastal Southern states, where it can be used to stabilize dunes.
- Extremely drought tolerant.
- Dewey Blue is a powder-blue selection that grows 34 feet tall, spreading only 23 feet It is clump forming, but may slowly enlarge over time.
bulbous panic grass
- Native to the arid Southwest, including Texas, but adapted to gardens throughout the South.
- This grass forms a clump that produces upright plumes to 4 feet However, it has a sparse, wispy appearance lacking in many ornamental grasses.
- Although a major component of the tall-grass prairies of the Great Plains, this grass is found throughout the Southern states.
- Upright, 2- to 4 feet-wide clump of narrow, deep green or gray-green leaves grows 35 feet tall; it is topped in summer by slender flower clusters that increase the plant's height to 47 feet The loose, airy sprays of tiny pinkish blossoms gradually age to white; foliage turns yellow or red in fall, then slowly fades to beige.
- Flowers and leaves persist all winter, making for an attractive silhouette in the cold-season garden.
- Switch grass tolerates many soils, wet or dry.
- Use in masses, sweeps, or mixed borders, or as an accent.
- Selections include the following.
- Typically blue-green foliage turns deep red in early summer.
- Late in the season purple plumes rise above the foliage.
- Compact plants grow 3 feet tall.
- Metallic blue foliage turns gold in autumn.
- Billowing clouds of reddish brown flowers.
- Reaches 6 feet tall in bloom.
- Best selection for Florida.
- Powder-blue foliage fades to attractive rust and tan tones.
- Large, layered clusters of reddish purple flowers.
- Plant reaches height of 5 feet in bloom.