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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Planting Ornamental Grasses in Containers

Renee Valdes
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Ornamental grasses in an urn.

If you’ve ever observed swaying fields of ornamental grasses, you’ve witnessed their mystical beauty when their plumes catch the wind and light as they sway back and forth. You can capture the same look by planting ornamental grasses in containers on your patio or deck. You won’t be disappointed because ornamental grasses need little care and water to thrive.

(The above container includes maiden grass ‘Cabaret,’ purple loropetalum, carex and fireworks fountain grass in a bell urn planter.)


Ornamental grasses in container


By planting ornamental grasses in containers, they will spread only in the boundaries that you set, whether in a large planter or trough.

Many ornamental varieties such as switchgrass, feather reed grass and maiden grass come with colorful, wispy plumes, giving your containers an allure of additional color. They also work well with flowering or other companions.

Maiden grass works well with purple coneflower, lamb’s ears and black-eyed Susan. Switchgrass works well with shasta daisy and tickseed.

In warmer zones, Mexican feather grass and ‘Hameln’ fountain grass with their fluffy plumes create stark contrasts with colorful hibiscus in your container.

Other ornamental varieties are low growing or considered ground covers. Some spill beautifully in planters, such as blue festuca, carex, variegated Japanese sedge (pictured below) and others.

(The above container includes maiden grass, dwarf miscanthus grass, blue festuca, cordyline and wormwood in stacked black poly planters.)


Variegated Japanese Sedge


  • Plant in sun or part shade (follow label instructions) in spring or fall.
  • Prune ornamental grasses in spring.
  • Divide every three years.
  • Plant with companions.
  • Leave seed heads intact through winter to attract birds.

 Ornamental grasses

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