Ornamental grasses are one of the toughest, undemanding, waterwise and quite possibly one of the most practical but under-appreciated perennials in the garden. Large or small, grass brings rich texture, contrast and movement to most any space throughout all seasons. Ornamental grasses are beautiful in beds, borders, on slopes, or in containers. Unlike flowers and shrubs, perennial grasses don’t need much pampering. Once established, they are typically drought tolerant and need little to no fertilizing. In spring, cut them back, right above the root line, to encourage fresh new growth. Perennial grasses are born survivors and are a long-term investment that will be enjoyed for years to come. Here's a look at some grasses that look great in fall:
Red Head - soft, smoky-pink flower spikes appear in mid-to late summer transitioning to red, feather-like plumes in early September. Red Head has fine-textured foliage with a beautiful yellow-green hue that turns golden as the winter weather arrives. Plant in mass, in the back of borders, or use as a thriller in containers. This fast-growing grass thrives in heat, drought, humidity, and extreme sun. It's easy to grow and deer resistant. Plant Red Head in full sun or partial shade and water it deeply until well established. This grass pairs well with other late summer favorites such as zinnias, coreopsis, daylilies and agastache.
Muhlenbergia (Muhly Grass) – is a showy, warm season grass with slender leaves and eye-catching reddish-mauve flower plumes that appear in late summer and fall. This grass’s fine-textured and soft green foliage forms a tidy mound and is ideal when planted in mass, as an accent mixed into perennial borders, or as a thriller in containers. Like most ornamental grasses, pink muhly is heat and drought tolerant and low maintenance. Plant in full to partial shade.
Miscanthus Adagio -is a fast-growing, dwarf variety reaching approximately 5 feet tall by 3 feet wide. The foliage is slender and prolific, giving a fountain-like appearance. Tiny pink-tinged flowers appear in tassel-like plumes above the foliage in August. In fall, the silver-green foliage turns appealing shades of yellow, orange and red and remains attractive throughout winter. Adagio grass is clump-forming, so it will not invade surrounding areas and fits in well with other flowering plants and shrubs. Spectacular in mass plantings or mixed into perennial borders. Prefers partial to full sun.