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Suggestions for ornamental grass for windy site

c_watkinsc_watkins MonmouthshirePosts: 40
Hello, I planted a couple of Calamagrostis Karl Foersterer in my garden last year, and they were great, except that I ended up supporting them to stop them getting pushed into a permanent sideways position by the wind. It's not an extremely open site, but it is on a hill and gets funnels of wind in particular spots. Does anyone have a suggestion for a slightly sturdier (less likely to get pushed sideways) grass which still reaches upwards of 1m? Or am I unlikely to find one?! I'll just keep supporting them if I can't find something else, but thought I'd ask. Thanks very much!


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,245
    I grow Spartina aureomarginata, which is a seaside grass. It certainly copes well with the wind here.  :)
    You may find you'll just have to use some other, slightly sacrificial, planting to help as a windbreak if its really awkward. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,605
    Miscanthus malepartus might do the trick
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,018
    edited 6 January
    I've grown Karl Foerster for many years but probably in more sheltered positions.  A grass with a similar upright habit which doesn't mind a windy location is Panicum Northwind (the name should reassure you!)  It reaches a similar height, is a little later to emerge and its flowers are more delicate than the Calamagrostis. The leaves are wider, more sturdy and a vibrant green, turning to fiery coppery tones in winter. 

    Here's a group of three I photographed earlier this week:

    I hope this helps.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,532
    I have some Karl Foerster in a windy spot for about 5 years and they stay upright in just about anything but heavy snow
    Yours have only been in the ground for 1 season - you may need to give them a couple of years to bulk up a bit
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,245
    Rain and wind together is always a problem here - snow doesn't cause so many problems, although I just brush that off it's more than couple of inches, and then just cut them back if they get damaged. 
    It's a good point re the age of them though, as @Pete.8 says. Like any perennial plant, they take a few years to reach full maturity. Grasses don't need any food either - that tends to make them more soft and lush, and less able to withstand weather.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • VictorMeldrewVictorMeldrew Peak District foothills, CheshirePosts: 439
    Mine are 3+ years old but I have trouble with the flower stems getting bent in half by the wind rather than the plants themselves being pushed over. Luckily they've been flowering profusely so I've been able to break the broken stems off without affecting the overall look too much.
    Every now and then I like to do as I'm told, just to confuse people
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,259
    I grow Stipa Gigantica in a fairly windy spot which stands up well but you do need the space for it, I think mine's now about 3-4ft wide and the same high, after ten years or so.
  • c_watkinsc_watkins MonmouthshirePosts: 40
    Thank you everyone for your really helpful suggestions and views.
    @Fairygirl they are in clay which doesn't help on the lush front! There are other plants around to protect them (although the sacrificial idea is a good one) but they're along what has turned out to be a right wind funnel. 
    @Pete.8 yes definitely they may need to bulk up you are right, I've decided to leave them in place with some support put in advance for this year and see how they do.
    I love your photo of the Panicum @Plantminded, I may buy some this year and put them in if the Karl Foerster has to be moved in future - beautiful plants!
    I also really like the Malepartus @Hostafan1 suggested, fabulous colour and shape. Stipa Gigantica would be too big sadly in that part of the garden. I've learned loads thank you all!
  • VictorMeldrewVictorMeldrew Peak District foothills, CheshirePosts: 439
    One thing I will mention is the fantastic 'prairie' plantings around Sheffield city centre and Sheffield University. They have used various Miscanthus species & Calamagrostis along with all sorts of flowering perennials that are used to being grown hard. Both sites are very windy due to the tunnel effect of the buildings. I only mention this because the Miscanthus (probably silberfelderkleine fontane amongst others) have stood up to the thrashing and have continued to look lovely.
    Every now and then I like to do as I'm told, just to confuse people
  • c_watkinsc_watkins MonmouthshirePosts: 40
    Ah excellent thank you @VictorMeldrew I'll consider them as wind tunnel garden contenders here.
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