Beautiful landscaping is a joy to behold. Unfortunately, the upkeep isn’t always easy. Unfortunately, a gorgeous, well-kept lawn and garden aren’t always easy to achieve. There are many things that can sabotage your efforts including pests that could destroy your garden, and grasses and plants could die if improperly planted. All in all, taking care of a lawn or garden can become a high-maintenance task and cost a lot in terms of money and time.

Plant ornamental grass for a low-maintenance yard. These grasses need less water and attention than typical plants. They blossom into beautiful colors and textures and grow in bunches or mounds. They also protect your soil and create windbreaks. This article will show you how to grow the most popular, low-maintenance types.

What To Know About Buying Ornamental Grass

When picking ornamental grass, examine its blooms. Here are some more important ornamental grass buying criteria.


Some ornamental grasses only grow a few inches, while others can extend up to 15 feet. Tall grasses can be advantageous if you are looking for extra privacy between you and your neighbor’s yard or a little more shade. Whatever your reason is for growing ornamental grass, make sure that you consider its potential height in the decision-making.

Cool or Warm Season

When selecting ornamental grass, it’s good to keep in mind the climate you live in. Cool-season grasses thrive in environments where temperatures are usually between 60 to 75 degrees. In comparison, warm-season grasses do well where it’s between 80 to 95 degrees. So if you live in the northern part of the U.S., select ornamental grasses that are categorized as cool-season grasses and vice versa if you live in the southern half of the U.S.

Hardiness Zone

Ornamental grass hardiness zone is another consideration. These grasses can thrive in 13 U.S. hardiness zones at various temperatures. Zone 13 is hot while Zone 1 is chilly. Hardiness zones, like warm or cold season categorization, let you decide whether ornamental grass will thrive in your location.

Soil Type

One great thing about ornamental grasses is that they don’t have to rely on extremely fertile soil to grow. Most like to grow in slightly moist, well-drained soil. Some may even thrive in clay or rocky soil. When buying ornamental grass, the tag will let you know the type of soil for your choice of grass.

Types of Ornamental Grasses

If you want to learn all about ornamental grasses, the best way to get started is to become familiar with some of the most common ones which don’t require much upkeep. Below are some no-fuss options that range from a few inches to several feet.

Black Mondo

Black Mondo, Ophiopogon planiscapus, grows in hardiness zones 5–10. Black mondo forms two-foot-wide mounds. The foliage is dark violet, but the flowers are lavender to pinkish-white. Medium-moist soil supports this perennial. The evergreen plant grows in sun or shade.

  • Height: 6 to 12 inches
  • Color : Blackish-violet
  • Cool or Warm Season Grass: Warm

Blue Fescue

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For a grass that grows in a hardiness zone of four to eight, festuca glauca, more commonly known as blue fescue is the way to go. It forms in very tight small mounds and doesn’t spread quickly. The color of the grass changes from light blue-silver early in the season and turns to blue-green in the summer. In fall, it turns darker, mottled green. In mild climates, it remains evergreen but turns brown during harsh winters. Since it is very drought-resistant, it can thrive in areas with very little water, such as a rock garden. It is a perennial that thrives in the sun and is semi-evergreen.

  • Height: 6 to 12 inches
  • Color Annual green-to-blue-green color change
  • Cool or Warm Season: Cool


Lilyturf, or liriope muscari, is a hardiness zone 4–10 ornamental grass. It spreads swiftly in clusters. Though predominantly green, its blossom is purple violet. Full sun or shade, it flourishes. Perennials prefer wet, well-drained soil. It’s perennial.

  • Height : 6 to 12 inches
  • Color : Green
  • Cool or Warm Season: Warm

Japanese Forest Grass


Japanese Forest Grass (hakonechloa macra) thrives in hardiness zones 4–5. It forms wide-spreading clusters. In the shade, it becomes lime green from yellow-gold. It prefers wet, well-drained soil. Semi-evergreen, perennial. It tolerates full sun and shade.

  • Height : 12 to 28 inches
  • Color : Yellow-gold
  • Cool or Warm Season : Cool

Purple Fountain

Purple fountain, Pennisetum setaceum rubrum, thrives in hardiness zones 9–10. This attractive grass grows clumps and broad. Burgundy plumes extend from the cluster. Tropical purple fountain grass is drought-tolerant. Evergreen, perennial. It requires six hours of sun and four of shade.

  • Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Color : Burgundy red
  • Cool or Warm Season Grass: Warm



Miscanthus sinensis is suitable for hardiness zones 5–9. This grass thrives in six-to-eight-hour sun. Zebra grass grows widely in bunches. Green grass with golden borders arches. This grass prefers damp soil yet may survive drought. Perennial deciduous.

  • Height : 5 to 8 feet
  • Color : Striped green and yellow
  • Cool or Warm Season Grass: Warm

Caring for Ornamental Grass

Although ornamental grasses eventually grow to become a plant that doesn’t require much water, they are very hydrophilic at first. So, when you plant them, you will need to water them every other day. After they have become established, water them twice a week. After a year, your ornamental grass will get along just fine on the moisture from rainfall. Though, if your area is experiencing minimal rain, it’s a good idea to water your ornamental grass every three weeks.

When it comes to fertilizers, ornamental grasses don’t need much. There are a few that won’t need fertilizers at all, such as fine and hard fescues or purple fountain grasses. You will only need to fertilize most other grasses in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer that includes rotted manure, mushroom compost, and leaf mold.

When to cut back ornamental grass

In late winter or early spring, it’s smart to take the time to cut back your ornamental grass. This means you will prune the brown parts of the plant that have grown throughout winter. Failing to do so will cause the new green growth to grow with the brown grass, which can eventually cause the plant to die. Cutting back the brown portions of the plant gets rid of the old and makes way for the new so that your grass can continue to grow and thrive another year.

After a few years, you may notice that your ornamental grass is getting too big for its location and starting to die near the center. This indicates that it is time to divide the grass. Like cutting back grass, it’s a good idea to do this in the late winter or early spring before the grass starts to grow. After cutting back the grass, take an ax or hacksaw and divide the plant into smaller sections. Carefully dig out one part and move it to a new location while keeping the other part in the exact location. This will allow the plant to have more room to grow for many years to come.

Common Questions About Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses are simple to cultivate. Here are ornamental grass FAQs.

Are perennials and ornamental grass the same?

Ornamental grasses are perennials. Annual ornamental grass exists. Annuals survive one year, whereas perennials live two or more.

Does ornamental grass require a lot of maintenance?

Ornamental grass is drought-resistant, so you don’t have to water it much, and most pests don’t find it appetizing. You only have to cut them back occasionally to eliminate the brown grass and keep it from dying. Additionally, you will have to divide it every few years.

What’s the best soil for planting ornamental grass?

Some ornamental grasses grow in clay or extremely wet soil. Some thrive in dry circumstances. Choose a species with planting and maintenance instructions.

Lawn Care Rapid City SD

Welcome to the most trustworthy and best lawn service Rapid City Sd team! We have been working for a couple of years and we have proven how we manage different types of yard maintenance services that our customers may need. From grass cutting service to lawn fertilization, you can entrust everything in us.

Welcome to the most trustworthy and best lawn service Rapid City Sd team! We have been working for a couple of years and we have proven how we manage different types of yard maintenance services that our customers may need. From grass cutting service to lawn fertilization, you can entrust everything in us.

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