Forum home Plants

Evergreen Grasses

GwenrGwenr KentPosts: 150
I have a position in the garden where I would like to plant some medium height evergreen grasses, their going to be in full sun, as it's a south facing garden. I would like them to be flowey if that makes sense, gently moving in a breeze.  
It's clay soil and most grass and plants do well. Could I have some suggestions please on what grasses would be suitable, I'd like to buy ready to plant from one of our local nurseries, but don't want to waste time and fuel touring round searching for ones that are suitable.
«13

Posts

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,460
    Anemanthele lessoniana is quite nice. Short lived but self seeds to replace itself. Calamagrostis Karl Foerster is nice, not evergreen as such but the dried seedheads stay all winter.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,672
    I couldn't think of any evergreen ones off the top of my head, so l had a look on the Knoll Gardens site :) .
    https://www.knollgardens.co.uk/product-tag/evergreen/
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,630
    Most of the grasses on that Knoll link I would describe as small/low growing.  I find Carex, which are actually Sedges, do better in damp/wet soil, so that may not suit your sunny/clay soil. We have a lovely variegated Pampas in our garden, very pale in colour, and it mostly keeps it's foliage in Winter (Cortaderia Splendid Star).

    Have you considered grass-like plants that are evergreen?  Libertia grandiflora, Dierama pulcherrimum are examples. 
  • GwenrGwenr KentPosts: 150
    Most of the grasses on that Knoll link I would describe as small/low growing.  I find Carex, which are actually Sedges, do better in damp/wet soil, so that may not suit your sunny/clay soil. We have a lovely variegated Pampas in our garden, very pale in colour, and it mostly keeps it's foliage in Winter (Cortaderia Splendid Star).

    Have you considered grass-like plants that are evergreen?  Libertia grandiflora, Dierama pulcherrimum are examples. 
    No I've not, there's no room for a pampas, but I will definitely look at the other two you mentioned.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,030
    I agree with @KeenOnGreen, most evergreen grasses are quite small and low growing, perhaps more suitable as fillers in the border or for containers. 

    I'd suggest that you increase your choice by looking at deciduous grasses, they do provide winter interest with their dried flowers/seedheads wafting in the wind and catching any glimpse of winter sunlight (this is their best time of year in my opinion.)  You'll only be without their presence for a few weeks after you've cut them down in late February/early March. They re-emerge very quickly.

    I like @Loxley's recommendation, Calamagrostis Karl Foerster, it's upright, well behaved and easy to divide when the clump starts to expand.  Any Miscanthus variety will also give you excellent all season interest, including their dried seedheads over winter.  Try Miscanthus malepartus, the leaves have a silver stripe and the flower heads start with a distinct reddish colour, fading to warm brown/coffee tints:

    https://www.knollgardens.co.uk/product/miscanthus-malepartus/

    These deciduous grasses are very easy to maintain and will provide an excellent focal point in your south facing garden. 

    If you only want evergreen, then I'd recommend @Loxley's other suggestion, Anamanthele lessoniana, which can develop rich red/orange tinges over winter but it is low lying and is better in groups to make an impact.  Or try any Cortaderia, as suggested by @KeenOnGreen.  I have the variegated variety which is fine leaved and forms a neat clump, and also Cortaderia selloana pumilla, a dwarf pampas grass which won't swamp your border, with very attractive flowers/seedheads.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,399
    ..consider Helictotrichon sempervirens, which as the name implies is evergreen..
    .. very suitable for dry parched conditions.. a bit sparse with flowers but the foliage is very nice..
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,559
    I agree that Karl Foerster may be a good choice. Not evergreen, but even when it dies off it remains a 5-6ft grass.
    I have a row of 8 of them.
    The purple(ish) seed heads in late spring get to between 5-6ft but when they die off, they remain upright throughout the winter (unless there's heavy snow). After gales and rain they're still bolt upright.
    When new growth appears in the Spring, cut the whole plant back to the ground and in a few weeks the new seed heads spring up.
    It also stays in its place, mine are about 5 yrs old now with a max spread of about 2-3ft
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I use Deschampsia despitosa a lot. It grows wild here, so it's free, but it is also a very pretty grass in my opinion. A mature p[ant is big enough to have some impact, but easy to split if it gets too large. They are tough and undemanding, I have used them in both dry and damp areas. Usually when you see it in pictures it claims to be the variety 'Goldtau'. but the difference as far as I can see is negligible.
    The leaves are dark green, quite wiry and remain through the winter and the flowering stems are long, with delectable pale green heads at first, that gradually change to straw colour. They do what you want and sway beautifully in the wind :)
    They stand fairly well, though tend to get battered by the wind here, might do better if your site is sheltered. The clumps gradually increase in size and when you pull out the dead stems in spring, you will find lots of little separate baby clumps  around the edges, that you can pull out and plant up if you need more of them.
  • GwenrGwenr KentPosts: 150
    I agree with @KeenOnGreen, most evergreen grasses are quite small and low growing, perhaps more suitable as fillers in the border or for containers. 

    I'd suggest that you increase your choice by looking at deciduous grasses, they do provide winter interest with their dried flowers/seedheads wafting in the wind and catching any glimpse of winter sunlight (this is their best time of year in my opinion.)  You'll only be without their presence for a few weeks after you've cut them down in late February/early March. They re-emerge very quickly.

    I like @Loxley's recommendation, Calamagrostis Karl Foerster, it's upright, well behaved and easy to divide when the clump starts to expand.  Any Miscanthus variety will also give you excellent all season interest, including their dried seedheads over winter.  Try Miscanthus malepartus, the leaves have a silver stripe and the flower heads start with a distinct reddish colour, fading to warm brown/coffee tints:

    https://www.knollgardens.co.uk/product/miscanthus-malepartus/

    These deciduous grasses are very easy to maintain and will provide an excellent focal point in your south facing garden. 

    If you only want evergreen, then I'd recommend @Loxley's other suggestion, Anamanthele lessoniana, which can develop rich red/orange tinges over winter but it is low lying and is better in groups to make an impact.  Or try any Cortaderia, as suggested by @KeenOnGreen.  I have the variegated variety which is fine leaved and forms a neat clump, and also Cortaderia selloana pumilla, a dwarf pampas grass which won't swamp your border, with very attractive flowers/seedheads.
    I think you're right and I have decided to go for some deciduous grasses instead. I love the sound of Miscanthus malepartus and the Cortaderia sound interesting. I've contacted one of our local old fashioned nurseries and they said they have a good range of grasses, different sizes and prices, as we are supposed to have rain tomorrow, maybe, we are going to have a look and see what's available. Thank you for your suggestion and guiding me in the right direction, I've not had grasses in any of our gardens, so this is a whole new area for me.
  • GwenrGwenr KentPosts: 150
    I use Deschampsia despitosa a lot. It grows wild here, so it's free, but it is also a very pretty grass in my opinion. A mature p[ant is big enough to have some impact, but easy to split if it gets too large. They are tough and undemanding, I have used them in both dry and damp areas. Usually when you see it in pictures it claims to be the variety 'Goldtau'. but the difference as far as I can see is negligible.
    The leaves are dark green, quite wiry and remain through the winter and the flowering stems are long, with delectable pale green heads at first, that gradually change to straw colour. They do what you want and sway beautifully in the wind :)
    They stand fairly well, though tend to get battered by the wind here, might do better if your site is sheltered. The clumps gradually increase in size and when you pull out the dead stems in spring, you will find lots of little separate baby clumps  around the edges, that you can pull out and plant up if you need more of them.
    I'm going to have to look for this one, don't think we have any growing local so might be a bit of a search, but the pictures of it look lovely.
Sign In or Register to comment.