10 Best Ornamental Grasses for Planters

Categories: PlantersTips

Are you looking to add a touch of style, texture, and colour to your container garden? Look no further than ornamental grasses! These versatile plants can elevate the beauty of any container garden and create stunning displays. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to the top 10 ornamental grasses for planters, along with tips for choosing the right grasses and creating the ideal growing conditions. Let’s dive in!

Short Summary

  • Explore the exciting world of ornamental grasses for your container garden!
  • Discover 10 popular varieties with unique characteristics and growing requirements.
  • Follow tips on pot or planter selection, soil preparation & ongoing care to keep them healthy & beautiful!

Choosing the Right Ornamental Grasses for Planters

A picture of ornamental grasses in a container garden

Selecting the perfect ornamental grasses for your container garden is a thrilling experience! With a wide range of sizes, growth habits, and growing conditions, you can create a unique display that adds charm and character to your outdoor space. In this section, we will discuss the importance of considering factors such as size, growth habit, and growing conditions when choosing ornamental grasses for your planters. We’ll also introduce you to our top 10 list of the best ornamental grasses, which includes popular choices like Mexican Feather Grass, Blue Oat Grass, Fountain Grass, and Japanese Forest Grass.

When choosing ornamental grasses, it’s essential to consider factors like size, growth habit, and growing conditions to ensure the best possible outcome for your container garden. Some grasses prefer full sun, while others thrive in partial shade. Some grasses grow in dense clumps, while others have an airy growth habit. By understanding each grass’s unique characteristics, you can create a thriving container garden that showcases the beauty of these versatile plants.

Size and Growth Habit

An essential factor to consider when growing ornamental grasses in planters is the mature size and growth habit of the grass. Ornamental grasses can vary widely in size, ranging from as small as 30cm tall to an incredible 4m! Some varieties can even reach heights of 10 to 20 feet. It’s crucial to select grasses that won’t overcrowd your container while still providing the desired visual impact.

For example, Anemanthele lessoniana grows to a height of 60-90cm, making it a perfect choice for medium-sized containers. On the other hand, the Leatherleaf Sedge (Carex buchananii) has a maximum height and spread of 75cm, making it an ideal option for smaller containers. By selecting grasses that suit the size of your container, you’ll ensure that your plants have enough space to grow and thrive.

Growing Conditions

When it comes to growing ornamental grasses, it’s essential to select plants that are well-suited to the specific growing conditions of your container garden. Here are some tips for growing ornamental grasses in containers:

  1. Choose grasses that love full sun and are light feeders.
  2. Consider grasses like Fiber Optic Grass, which grow exceptionally well in tropical climates.
  3. In colder climates, these grasses can be grown as an annual crop.

It’s vital to match your chosen grasses with their preferred growing conditions. For example, Carex buchananii thrives when planted in full sun or partial shade in a sheltered position. In contrast, Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’ enjoys full sun or light shade and well-drained compost. By selecting grasses that are compatible with your container garden’s environment, you’ll increase the chances of a successful and beautiful display.

Top 10 Ornamental Grasses for Planters

A picture of ornamental grasses in a container garden with different types of grasses

Let’s explore our top 10 popular ornamental grasses for planters, each with its unique characteristics and growing requirements. These grasses, which can be considered as varieties of ornamental grass, include:

  • Mexican Feather Grass
  • Blue Oat Grass
  • Fountain Grass
  • Japanese Forest Grass
  • New Zealand Flax
  • Leatherleaf Sedge
  • Red Rooster Carex
  • Black Mondo Grass
  • Blue Fescue

Each of these evergreen grasses offers stunning textures, colours, and forms, making them perfect for enhancing your container garden. In comparison to most grasses, these evergreen varieties truly stand out, especially when paired with smaller grasses.

Mexican Feather Grass (Stipa tenuissima)

A beautiful image of Mexican Feather Grass (Stipa tenuissima), one of the best ornamental grasses for planters

Mexican Feather Grass (Stipa tenuissima) is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant grass that features fine, feathery foliage and airy flower heads. This beautiful grass forms tufts of up to around 60cm in height and is also sold under the name Nassella tenuissima.

With a preference for full sun and well-draining soil, Mexican Feather Grass is an excellent choice for container gardens seeking a touch of elegance and movement.

Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens)

Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) is a cool-season grass with striking blue-green foliage and delightful airy flower heads. This grass thrives in full sun and moist, well-drained soil.

Its stunning silver blue foliage adds a pop of colour and texture to any container garden, making it a fantastic addition to your outdoor space, especially when paired with bright green evergreen foliage plants.

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)

Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) is a versatile, clump-forming grass with arching foliage and showy, bottlebrush-like flower spikes. This grass prefers full sun and moist, well-drained soil. It is drought-tolerant once established and can tolerate some shade.

The burgundy foliage and airy flower heads of Fountain Grass make it a stunning addition to any container garden.

Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) is a shade-tolerant, slow-growing grass with cascading, golden-yellow foliage that brightens up container gardens. This grass requires regular water and some shade when grown in a container.

The arching foliage and airy flower heads of Japanese Forest Grass, one of the many flowering plants, add a touch of grace and elegance to any container garden, making it a popular choice among gardening enthusiasts.

New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax)

New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax) is a bold, architectural plant with large, sword-like leaves that provide year-round interest in containers. This exciting perennial plant is perfect for tropical regions and can be grown in containers.

New Zealand. Flax loves full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Its striking appearance and ease of care make it a fantastic option for container gardens.

Leatherleaf Sedge (Carex buchananii)

Leatherleaf Sedge (Carex buchananii) is a grass with bronze-hued leaves that grow up to 1-2 feet tall. This low-maintenance perennial evergreen plant has a spreading growth habit and is best planted in full sun or partial shade in a sheltered position.

The coppery-bronze foliage of Leatherleaf Sedge adds a unique touch of texture and colour to container gardens, making it a popular choice among gardeners.

Red Rooster Carex (Carex comans ‘Red Rooster’)

Red Rooster Carex (Carex comans ‘Red Rooster’) is a compact, colourful grass with reddish-bronze foliage that provides year-round interest in containers. This dense, tufted, evergreen perennial grass features narrow, arching, glossy, orange- to reddish-brown leaves and lax stems.

The vibrant foliage of Red Rooster Carex adds a pop of colour to any container garden, making it a fantastic addition to your outdoor space.

Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’)

Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) is a unique, slow-growing grass with dark, almost black foliage that contrasts beautifully with other plants in container gardens. This grass-like perennial is part of the Lily family and spans 20-30cm in height and spreads at maturity.

Black Mondo. Grass makes an excellent choice for growing in pots and containers, adding an unusual touch of drama to your garden as an outdoor potted plant.

Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca)

Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca) is a smaller grass that works well in containers. It features:

  • Silvery-blue foliage that adds a pop of colour
  • Compact, mound-forming growth habit
  • Low-maintenance and drought-tolerant
  • Thrives in full sun and well-draining soil

Blue Fescue’s stunning colour and texture make it a popular choice for small and medium-sized containers, adding visual interest to any outdoor space.

Container Gardening Tips for Ornamental Grasses

A picture of a container garden with ornamental grasses and other plants

Successfully growing ornamental grasses in containers requires attention to pot selection, soil preparation, and ongoing care. In this section, we’ll share tips and tricks to help you grow ornamental grasses and create a thriving container garden with beautiful grasses for containers, including growing ornamental grass that will flourish and enhance your outdoor living space.

By following the guidelines presented in this blog post, you can create a stunning container garden that showcases the beauty and versatility of ornamental grasses. From selecting the right grasses based on their size, growth habit, and growing conditions to providing proper pot selection, soil preparation, and ongoing care, you’ll be well-equipped to grow these beautiful plants in your own outdoor space.

Pot or Planter Selection

Selecting the right pot for your ornamental grasses is essential for their success. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose a pot or planter with proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.
  • Make sure the pot or planter has enough space for the root system and appearance of the grass.
  • The size of the container should depend on the type and expected mature size of the plant.
  • The pot or planter should be deep and wide enough to accommodate root growth and foliage spread.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your ornamental grasses thrive in their pots.

Ensure that the pot or planter is in good condition, regularly checking for cracks, chips, and other damage, and clean it frequently to prevent the buildup of dirt and debris.

Here at Arthur Jack we can deliver you the perfect planters! We have long lasting planters in an array of sizes that all come with ample drainage holes to allow free drainage and there are special 6cm feet in each corner to keep the base clear.

Soil Preparation

Preparing the soil is crucial for the success of your ornamental grasses in containers. Use a well-draining mix of compost, topsoil, and a moisture-retentive material, such as perlite or coarse sand. Alternatively, you can opt for a commercial potting mix designed specifically for ornamental grasses.

Ensuring that your grasses have the proper soil conditions will help them grow strong, healthy root systems and lush, vibrant foliage.

Ongoing Care

Providing ongoing care for your ornamental grasses is essential for keeping them healthy and thriving in containers. Here are some tips for caring for your ornamental grasses:

  1. Water your plants deeply once a week. Allow the top one to two inches of soil to dry out between watering.
  2. Fertilise your plants twice a year with a slow-release nitrogen-rich fertiliser for healthy growth.
  3. Additionally, you can apply a liquid all-purpose feed once in a while during the growing season in weak strength.

By following these care tips, you can ensure that your ornamental grasses stay healthy and beautiful in your containers.

Prune or divide your grasses in early spring or fall, depending on the specific needs of each grass, to maintain their appearance and vitality.

Combining Ornamental Grasses with Other Plants

A picture of ornamental grasses in a container garden with other plants

Combining ornamental grasses with other plants in container gardens can create stunning displays with contrasting textures, colours, and forms. When selecting filler plants to accompany your ornamental grasses, choose plants with similar growing requirements in terms of light and water to ensure a harmonious container garden.

Some popular plants to pair with ornamental grasses include flowering perennials, succulents, and other foliage plants. By mixing and matching various plants with different textures, colours, and forms, you can create a visually appealing container garden that showcases the beauty of ornamental grasses while complementing the other plants in your display.

Summary

Ornamental grasses are a fantastic addition to any container garden, offering stunning textures, colours, and forms that can elevate the beauty of your outdoor space. By choosing the right grasses based on their size, growth habit, and growing conditions, and providing proper care, you can create a thriving container garden that showcases the versatility and charm of these unique plants. So, why not try incorporating some of these top 10 ornamental grasses into your container garden and experience the visual impact and allure they can offer?

View the Arthur Jack range of planters in our online shop

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you grow grasses in pots UK?

Yes, you can definitely grow grasses in pots or planters in the UK – just check out this list of popular varieties!

Some of the most popular grasses for pots or planters in the UK include: Festuca glauca, Carex comans, and Stipa tenuissima. These grasses are all low.

What is the easiest ornamental grass to grow?

Blue Fescue and Maiden Grass are two of the easiest ornamental grasses to grow, offering great colour, fast growth, and minimal maintenance. Blue Fescue loves full sun to partial shade, while Maiden Grass has narrow arching foliage and silvery plumes that add incredible colour and texture to your landscape.

Do you cut back ornamental grasses in pots?

Yes, you should cut back ornamental grasses in pots late winter to early spring to a couple of inches (5 cm.) above the crown and let brand new blades grow and fill in the plant. This will help the grasses look their best and encourage healthy growth.

Do grasses in pots need a lot of water?

Grasses grown in pots or planters need regular watering every year, so yes, they do require a lot of water!

However, the amount of water needed depends on the type of grass and the size of the pot or planter. For example, a small pot of grass may only need to be watered once a week.

What factors should I consider when choosing ornamental grasses for planters?

When choosing ornamental grasses for planters, be sure to consider size, growth habit, and growing conditions to ensure the best possible outcome.

Size is an important factor to consider when selecting ornamental grasses for planters. Choose a grass that will fit comfortably in the planter and won’t outgrow it too quickly.

Growth habit is also important.


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