Gardens and lawns are some of the most visually appealing aspects of your home. They can be pragmatic or dramatic, depending on your preference, and reflect the vibrant flora of your region. However, there has been an enormous lack of imagination when it comes to the plants that grow around houses.
According to a 2005 study by Nasa, there were more than 63,000 square miles of plain turf growing around the country. Instead of just plopping down boring swatches of turf around your home, why not try different ornamental grasses? These types of decorative plants contribute so much more to your garden than color and texture.
Today, learn about five different types of ornamental grasses you can grow as well as a few lawn care tips for ensuring they thrive in your garden.
Why Plant Ornamental Grasses?
Many houses and apartment complexes around the United States simply use swathes of ordinary turf grass to add the bare minimum of greenery to their surroundings. Unfortunately, there are many drawbacks to using just turf and ignoring other ornamental plants. Worse, some properties resort to using artificial turf, which causes more problems than regular turf.
Here are a few compelling reasons you should plant ornamental grasses in your garden.
Both regular turf and artificial turf are associated with negative environmental impact. Regular turf needs so much water, especially during the summer, that they can strain local water supplies just to stay alive. Meanwhile, artificial turf does not use as much water because it’s made of plastic but causes urban heat islands.
Ornamental grasses, on the other hand, help keep the environment safe. If you use drought-resistant or particularly hardy types of ornamental grasses, you can significantly reduce the amount of water you use to water your lawn. Unlike synthetic turf, ornamental grasses will also cool down the air around your property.
Another problem caused by using only turf grass for gardens and lawns is that they rob the surrounding area of biodiversity. Although they can look uniform and neat, they don’t have any seeds for birds nor do they provide good food for many different kinds of insects. The result is ironic: lush green lawns that are slowly reducing your neighborhood’s vibrant natural life.
Ornamental grasses, especially ones that are native to your area, are great for biodiversity. They provide the right type of substance for local insect and animal life. Cultivating them in your backyard can also ensure that the species survives outside the wilderness.
Finally, turf lawns are just boring. No matter what sort of décor you use to spruce up a plain turf lawn, it will look uniform. The best way to make your garden and lawn look more attractive and unique is by using decorative plants and ornamental grasses.
What’s more is that they can help reflect your personality. Do you want your lawn to reflect your serenity and flexibility? Try a few elegant stands of tall bamboo grass. Do you wish to showcase your bold and vivacious personality through your lawn? There are plenty of red ornamental grass you can plant to make your lawn truly pop with color.
Types of Ornamental Grasses
There are dozens of different kinds of ornamental grasses you can ask your local garden center about. Identifying ornamental grasses can be very helpful when you are designing your garden or when you are planning on improving your lawn.
Here are seven great ornamental grasses that will make your lawn more vibrant and diverse. They also include some basic lawn care advice for these plants, such as pruning ornamental grasses and how to ensure they bloom properly.
Japanese Blood Grass
This red ornamental grass grows natural in many parts of Asia and Australia. Much like scrub grass, Japanese blood grass spreads not through seeds but through underground root systems. These plants get their names from the way the upper portions of their long leaves take on a crimson hue during the summer, making it look like each one has been dipper in blood. This grass only grows between one to one-and-a-half feet in height.
Tips for Caring:
Because they aren’t native to the United States, Japanese blood grass is very carefully regulated by local agencies. Be sure to check with your local environmental agency before planting it in your lawn. It enjoys moisture, so be sure to put it in rich, wet soil. They thrive best in areas that don’t experience winter but go into dormancy during colder months.
Dragon Head Bamboo
It can be easy to forget that these towering specimens are a type of ornamental grass. There are dozens of species of bamboo, some towering to over 100 feet high. The most manageable species of bamboo you can grow in your garden is the dragoon head bamboo, which reaches approximately 8 feet in height. Each pole has a glossy yellow-green sheen and lovely blue-green leaves.
Tips for Caring:
Dragon head bamboo needs fertile soil that drains quickly, so they do well in planter boxes or garden edges. Pruning these ornamental grasses is essential because they can grow quite tall, even if they only reach around 8 feet. You can use gardening shears to snip prune them or you can use a machete or similar edged blade to make a diagonal cut across the top. If the stand grows too large, you can separate them into clumps at the roots to disperse or dispose of.
Purple Fountain Grass
This is one of the most popular ornamental grasses because of its striking appearance and elegant coloration. Purple fountain grass grows up to 5 feet in height, but they can have a large diameter because of its dramatic fountain-like shape. Their feathery flowers grow in maroon or a sort of rose madder color. They can grow wonderfully throughout the entire year in areas that don’t experience winter.
Tips for Caring:
The purple fountain grass doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, making it ideal if you are a busy person. If you are concerned about the amount of water your lawn consumes, you are also in luck because this ornamental grass is drought-resistant and can get by with only a little water. Just make sure to prune this ornamental grass to about a foot in height near September or October to ensure it grows well for the rest of the year.
Not many people know that the famed papyrus scrolls of Ancient Egyptians were made from ornamental grasses. These plants are native to Africa, particularly around the banks of the Nile River and its tributaries. They have large, unique fronds that appear so frequently in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Under ideal circumstances, they grow to about three feet high and make a distinctive rustling noise in the wind.
Tips for Caring:
Egyptian papyrus loves wet, moist soil because they are native to riverbanks. This makes them ideal for growing beside a large water feature such as a pond or a fountain. If your home naturally abuts to a creek or stream, you can cultivate papyrus there as well. They will last the entire year if you live in a region that does not experience winter.
This ornamental grass is native to the American prairies, and so does well in the Midwest and nearby regions. They grow in graceful, semispherical clumps with delicately textured leaves. They can make for excellent edging for paths or to grow prettily at the foot of your property and larger decorative plants. They also provide plenty of seeds as their name implies. They are perfect nesting sites for bids, ensuring your garden can be full of birdsong.
Tips for Caring:
Prairie dropseed is used to growing in large open spaces and thus need lots of sunlight. Make sure to not plant any overhanging plants or trees over them or else they will wilt. They do not need much water and enjoy thriving in arid, rocky soil. Avoid overwatering them to ensure they grow strong in your garden.
Ornamental grasses act as more than just decorations on your lawn. They help promote biodiversity, enhance the appeal of your property and prevent your lawn from becoming an ecological dead zone.
Boost your home’s appeal and help the local ecosystem, look no further than the different types of ornamental grasses.