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Searching Category for GRASSES
GRASSES
One of the most important things to understand about ornamental grasses is the distinction between cool and warm weather grasses.

Cool season grasses begin growth, logically, in the cool of spring or early summer and are, generally speaking smaller, mounding species.

Warm season grasses do not emerge until summer, when it is not just warm, but hot. Most warm season grasses are taller, upright species and do not really come into their own until the autumn.

Understanding the differences is the only way to know how to use them in the landscape. For example, if you plant a warm-season grass in a prominent spot in your garden, make sure you are willing to live with what appears to be a dead-looking clump until mid summer.


ANDROPOGON(BLUESTEM, BEARD GRASS)Family: GRAMINAE
A genus of 100 species of widely distributed grasses. Many are elegant and subtle plants, extremely ornamental in the fall, turning a rich orange-wheat colour. For full sun in well-drained soil.

ANDROPOGON gerardiiFall316
Big Bluestem120-180cm  Zone: 3
Clump-forming, warm-season grass with grey-green foliage turning bronze-red in autumn. Airy, purplish flowers are shaped like a turkey-foot.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
30 seeds  $4.00   

CALAMAGROSTIS(REED GRASS)Family: GRAMINEAE
250 species of reed-like perennial grasses native to the temperate northern hemisphere.

CALAMAGROSTIS brachytrichaLate Summer653
1m  Zone: 2/3
Native of central to eastern Asia and a wonderful grass. It forms distinctive clumps of wide glossy green leaves which arch outward. Late summer brings graceful and feathery flowers in long panicles tinted a distinct purple-red. These later change to silver-grey, lasting very late in the season, into winter.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
50 seeds  $4.25   

CAREX
A large genus of about 2,000 species of grasslike plants grown for their foliage rather than flowers. For cool locations in moist to well-drained soil. Sun or part shade. The smaller species are excellent edging plants, while the larger plants are wonderful en masse or as specimens.

CAREX grayi New Spring762
Gray's or Morning-Star Sedge90cm  Zone: 4
A clump-forming native of eastern North American meadows and woodlands. This is a tall sedge with medium green foliage. Produces conspicuous, attractive light green lace-shaped seed heads (2-4cm long). Requires moisture. Seed wild collected in Ontario.
Germination Instructions: Cold treatment required.
12 seeds  $3.75   

CAREX morrowiiSpring778
Japanese Sedge30-40cm  Zone: 5
Although this is most often seen in one of its variegated cultivar forms; the clumping species is native to Japan, growing in mountainous woods. A beautiful small, evergreen ornamental, forming a symmetrical clump of handsome, slender green leaves. The drooping flower spikes are insignificant, but its clean foliage adds plenty of structure and presence in a lightly shaded spot. In a cool summer climate is happy open grown.
30+ seeds  $4.00   

CAREX muskingumensisSummer754
Palm-Branch Sedge75cm  Zone: 2
One of my favorite plants. Native to the Great Lakes region of Canada and the USA. Grown in full sun, and moist soil, as we do, the beautiful foliage takes on a lovely, distinctive yellow-green that combines superbly with Blue Oat Grass. Foliage resembles palm fronds which gives this plant a very tropical appearance. Distinctive brown seeds dangle in between the leaves from summer onwards. For sun or shade. Prefers moist soil and will grow in shallow water 3-4" deep, when young, deeper as it matures. Will flop in too much shade.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
20 seeds  $4.00   

DESCHAMPSIA(HAIR GRASS)Family: GRAMINEAE
A genus of 50 tufted perennial grasses with threadlike to linear foliage.

DESCHAMPSIA caespitosaLate Summer1256
Tufted Hairgrass60-90cm  Zone: 3
Native to the northern hemisphere. A clump-forming, cool season grass forming a low, dense tussock (to 45cm tall) of very thin arching, dark green foliage. Airy panicles of variably-colored flowers (tones of gold, silver, purple and green) form a cloud over the foliage that is particularly attractive when backlit. These turn yellowish-tan after bloom as the seed ripens and remain attractive through much of the winter. This is one of the few ornamental grasses that grows well in moderately shady locations, however it will not flower well if moved into too much shade. Wild collected in Finland this year.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
30 seeds  $3.50   

ELYMUS(WILD RYE, LYME GRASS)Family: GRAMINAE
About 150 species of annual and perennial grasses with flat leaf blades and bristly flowers. Valuable for their blue foliage.

ELYMUS ripariusJuly-September1456
Riverbank Wild Rye120cm
Native to eastern North America, a cool season grass for shade or part shade and particularly good for erosion control in moist areas. The dark green foliage grows actively early in the season. Moderate seeding will help in further establishment. Limited.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
15 seeds  $3.75   

FESTUCA(FESCUE)Family: GRAMINAE
A large genus of grasses. Those perennial species of ornamental value in the garden are mound-forming species, many with blue, or blue-green foliage. Full sun and ordinary well-drained soil.

FESTUCA saximontana1580
Rocky Mountain Fescue15-45cm  Zone: 1/2
This is a widespread species in North America, ranging into the arctic, growing in alpine areas and prairie. A densely tufted small grass with bluish-gray to green foliage. Closely related to F. brachyphylla. Wild collected in Colorado.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
30 seeds  $3.50   

GLYCERIA(SWEET GRASS)Family: GRAMINEAE
A small genus of aquatic or marsh grasses with creeping rhizomes and reed-like stems.

GLYCERIA canadensisEarly Summer1745
Rattlesnake Mannagrass60-90cm  Zone: 3
Native to North America, a particularly lovely and graceful rhizomatous species for a moist to wet area. The narrow, green foliage is topped by long, nodding flower stems carrying distinct spikelets that progress from purplish at the flowering stage to green then to an aged wheat color. Seed wild collected in Ontario.
Germination Instructions: Cold treatment recommended.
50 seeds  $3.75   

LUZULA(WOODRUSH)Family: JUNCACEAE
About 80 species of widely distributed, cool-season tufted plants with green or white flowers and flat, often arching green leaves. Grow in well-drained soil in a shady site.

LUZULA acuminata New Spring3729
Hairy Woodrush5cm  Zone: 3
A diminutive rush relative native from Alberta east through the maritimes in Canada growing in loose sod-like clumps. The plant has narrow, shiny leaves with soft silvery hairs. Small yellow, green or brown florets appear in spring followed by brown seed capsules. Plants thrive in open woodlands with dappled shade and moist soil. Only a few packs.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
20 seeds  $4.00   Sorry...Sold Out

MELICA(MELIC GRASS)Family: GRAMINAE
60 species of grasses with flat leaf blades and narrow panicles of attractive flowers. Underused grasses for edging or in small groups in the sunny border. For full sun or light shade in moist, well-drained soil.

MELICA altissima 'atropurpurea'Early Summer2314
Siberian Melic120cm  Zone: 3
I love this grass for its elegance and "bamboo-like" feeling. Wide, glossy green foliage in loose tufts. The purple flowers are a narrow panicle growing 1-2' above the foliage. A showy flowering accent for lightly shaded woodland settings or effective mid-border for early summer appeal. Ensure moisture. Resents hot, dry situations or heavy, wet, poorly drained soil.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
50 seeds  $4.00   

PANICUM(SWITCH GRASS)Family: GRAMINAE
Over 600 species found worldwide. In North America these were a major constituent of the tallgrass prairie. The varied forms and the beauty of these native grasses, long a staple of the German nursery trade, have taken longer to become appreciated in North America.

PANICUM virgatumAutumn2514
Switch Grass120-240cm  Zone: 3
One of North America's contributions to the international hit list of ornamental grasses. Grey-blue leaves and feathery masses of green to pink flowers. An excellent warm-season grass, coloring beautifully in the fall. Extremely versatile and will tolerate a wide range of soils and climatic conditions. Because it holds its dormant form, will remain standing throughout winter and makes a great effect in the snow. Wonderful alone or massed. Flowers and foliage good dried.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
30 seeds  $4.00   

PENNISETUM

PENNISETUM macrourum2573
African Feather Grass1.8m
A tussock forming grass, native to South Africa, will pale green narrow leaves and a silvery underside, turning yellow in autumn. Long, slender, cylindrical, softly bristly, cat-tail-like flower panicles in summer to early autumn. These start off a pale white and gradually turn to a yellow straw colour. If you live in a cold area, grow in large pots and move into a cool greenhouse over the winter months. Limited quantity.

Photograph: David Fenwick
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
30 seeds  $4.00   

SORGHASTRUM(INDIAN GRASS)Family: GRAMINAE
Small genus native to North America and Africa. One species is of considerable value for its upright habit, late-summer flowering and autumn colour. Ordinary, well-drained soil in full sun.

SORGHASTRUM nutansAutumn3341
Indian Grass90-150cm  Zone: 3
Highly recommended. Indian grass is one of North America's most beautiful native grasses and one of the major constituents of the tallgrass prairie. This handsome grass is perfect for the meadow or large border either en masse or as a specimen. Attractive, clumping, upright grass with gray-green, almost blue foliage arching out at the tip. Long flower plumes appear on stiff, erect spikes. The flowers turn golden in autumn and foliage matures to yellow, then burnt orange. Best in deep rich, moist soil and full sun.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
30 seeds  $4.00   

SPOROBOLUS(DROP SEED, RUSH GRASS)Family: GRAMINAE
About 100 species of drought-tolerant grasses native to North and South America.

SPOROBOLUS airoidesSummer3359
Alkali Sacaton60-100cm  Zone: 4
This is a beautiful ornamental grass from valleys and meadows of the western U.S.A., especially on alkaline soils. It forms loose, flowing mounds of narrow bluish-green leaves, turning yellow in autumn then light tan for winter. Although it is a warm season grass, it bears in summer long, graceful, airy, widely-spread flower panicles that open with a strong pink cast before drying to silver. In the wild it often grows in moist, alkaline soils (hence the common name), but is also extremely drought and heat tolerant. Seed wild collected in Utah.
Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator.
30 seeds  $4.25   

SPOROBOLUS heterolepsisMid Summer3358
Prairie Drop Seed60-120cm  Zone: 3
A classic native bunch grass, forming tight tussocks of very fine, upward and out-arching foliage topped by slender flower stalks, pink and hazy when in bloom; later accented by tiny rounded beads, loved by birds. Perfect for massing or as a groundcover in harsh, hot and dry conditions. Lovely fall colour. Wild collected in Ontario.
Germination Instructions: This species is unique in its genus for having a very firm seed coat that does not break down easily, even when moistened. Germination therefore tends to take place over a long period at warm.
20 seeds  $4.00   

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