Muhlenbergia lindheimeri 'Autumn Glow'

Autumn Glow Muhly

The mounding form of 'Autumn Glow' can perform the duties of a shrub in the landscape. Canopy coverage: 20 square feet.

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Muhlenbergia rigens

Deer Grass

The symmetrical mounding form of the popular Deer Grass can perform the functions of a small shrub. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet.

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Nolina bigelovii

Bigelow's Nolina, Beargrass

This yuccalike accent plant is a member of the lily family. It grows in a large rosette form with a trunk to 3 feet high. This is topped with 3- to 4-foot-long narrow leaves. Accepts most soils as long as it is well draining. Canopy coverage: 28 square feet.

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Nolina matapensis

Tree Bear Grass

After many years Tree Bear Grass can take on a form reminiscent of the iconic Joshua Tree. Canopy coverage: 28 square feet.

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Nolina microcarpa

Bear Grass

The form of Beargrass is a wide-spreading, grasslike clump. Not a plant for close-up viewing, but valued for its ability to thrive in less-than-ideal conditions. Canopy coverage: 50 square feet.

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Panicum virgatum


This ornamental grass provides interest all year. Upright and clump-forming, when the airy seedheads are in place plants reach over 5 feet high. Seedheads emerge as pink, then change to white and then brown. Photo of large plant courtesy Mountain States Wholesale Nursery. Canopy coverage: 20 square feet.

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Pennisetum alopecuroides

Fountain Grass

This is an attractive ornamental grass that grows in a mounding clump, topped by profuse, fluffy seedheads in late summer. Leaves turn yellow and then brown in winter. Reseeds. For dwarf plants, look for 'Little Bunny', 'Hameln' and 'Cassian'. Canopy coverage: 7 square feet.

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Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'

Red Fountain Grass

This cultivated variety is a striking, easy-to-grow ornamental grass. Be certain you have the selection 'Rubrum' and not the species, which is extremely invasive. 'Rubrum' seldom sets seed. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet.

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Phalaris arundinacea picta

Ribbon Grass

Ribbon Grass is a tough plant, grown for its vertically striped leaves that are colorful ribbons of green and white. Plants spread by underground runners allowing it to be invasive. Be prepared to control its spread. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Schizachyrium scoparium

Little Bluestem

Little Bluestem changes color with the seasons, beginning with bright green, then blue-green in spring, aging to copper or tan in fall and winter. Seedheads add a silvery hue in summer. Will not tolerate shade and requires well drained soil. A clump-forming grass, it makes a dramatic statement when planted in masses. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Sporobolus wrightii

Giant Sacaton

Giant Sacaton is a tall-growing grass that becomes even taller when its seedheads are on display—to 6 feet or more. A Plant Select selection. Not fussy regarding soil, but avoid overwatering. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet.

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Stipa gigantea

Giant Needlegrass, Giant Feathergrass

An arching, clumping grass, the seedheads of Giant Needlegrass add another 3 feet to its height. Accepts sandy to clay soils. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet.

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Xanthorrhoea quadrangulata

Australian Grasstree

This is a succulent with a grasslike form and appearance. Long, very narrow, 2- to 4-foot leaves drape fountainlike from the tops of the woody trunks. Mature size of 8 feet by 8 feet takes many years. Tall flowering stalks to 12 feet high appear sporadically in spring. (See photo.) Best in well draining, sandy soil. Canopy coverage: 50 square feet.

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