Ornamental grasses are popular additions to the home landscape


In addition to graceful form and texture, ‘Prairie Fire’ panic grass has burgundy tipped leaves.

Charlotte Glen
Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 01:47 PM.

Ornamental grasses are fast becoming one of the most popular additions for landscape beds. Their graceful, arching foliage and colorful plumes provide seasonal interest year-round. In the landscape ornamental grasses can be used as a backdrop to accentuate a centerpiece plant or as a feature planting on their own. Their relative low-maintenance and ease of establishment make ornamental grasses an excellent addition for any sunny landscape, plus deer do not like to eat them.

Benefits of ornamental grasses

Aside from their attractiveness, there are many other benefits of ornamental grasses. Deer and pest pressure can be a limiting factor when considering certain plants for the Cape Fear region. If you have trouble establishing plants because of deer, ornamental grasses are an excellent choice. Deer avoid eating ornamental grasses, preferring instead to feed on flowers and shrubs. Adding ornamental grasses and other deer resistant plants to your landscape is the most effective way to minimize deer damage in your yard.

Many of the grasses grown in this region are highly resistant to insect and disease pressure, are tolerant of heat and drought, and can withstand long periods of ground moisture. Other than some general maintenance in the winter, ornamental grasses require very little pruning and upkeep, so are ideal if you are looking for a low-maintenance option for your landscape.

Aside from the aesthetic and low-maintenance benefits, many ornamental grasses are prized for their ability to stabilize sandy soils and provide a nesting habitat and food source for wildlife. If you live near the beach or have very sandy soil, consider adding grasses. Their fibrous root system stabilizes soil by tightly binding loose sand particles. Beach and dune erosion is a major concern in this region, and you can help protect our beaches by planting native grasses like sea oats and bitter panicum. Many of our native grasses will also provide nesting sites and food for birds, and are also a food source for butterfly caterpillars.

What varieties are available?

There are many ornamental grasses available, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Because of its versatility and beauty, muhly grass is one of the most popular grasses in our region. Available in pink or white, muhly grass is a native perennial grass that adds a delicate touch of color in the fall when the blooms make their appearance.

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