Achnatherum hymenoides

Indian Ricegrass

This is a tough bunching grass, attractive in the landscape, and useful for reclamation and revegetation projects. Leaves change from a rich green in the summer to tan in the fall and winter. The delicate, lacy seeds attract birds and small mammals. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Bouteloua curtipendula

Sideoats Grama

Sideoats Grama is an upright, clumping grass. Leaves are blue-green then turn tan in winter. Tolerates heat and drought. The large seeds develop on one side of the stalk and are loved by birds. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Bouteloua gracilis

Blue Grama Grass

As the green leaves of Blue Grama Grass go dormant in fall, they turn a tan color. The delicate seedheads on tall spikes look like eyelashes. Accepts some shade. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Buchloe dactyloides


Buffalograss is an unusual ornamental grass in that it typically takes on the role of a grass lawn substitute. It takes a while to establish from either seed or plugs—small sections of sod. If planting as sod, look for female selections such as 'Prestige' for a more uniform appearance. Drought tolerant once it is established. Canopy coverage is dependent on amount planted.

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Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

Feather Reed Grass

Feather Reed Grass displays something of interest practically year-round, with flowering seedheads that remain on the plant late into the year. This popular grass provides strong vertical element in the landscape. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Chasmanthium latifolium

Sea Oats, Bamboo Grass

Sea Oats is an ornamental grass with large dramatic seedheads. Looking similar to oat seed clusters, they turn from a silvery green to copper and then tan in winter. They made a wonderful addition to floral arrangements. Accepting of most soils but prefer moist soil. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Festuca idahoensis

Idaho Fescue Grass

Idaho Fescue Grass is an attractive grass with a symmetrical, globe-shaped form and fine-textured leaves. Seedheads appear several inches above the foliage in midsummer. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Helictotrichon sempervirens

Blue Oat Grass

The growth habit of Blue Oat Grass is clumping and symmetrical. Attractive features include striking blue-green foliage (more blue than green) and seedheads on tall stems that rise well above the leaves. Foliage turns tan color in cold-winter regions. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra'

Japanese Blood Grass

This is an improved selection that spreads by underground runners. Leaves of 'Rubra' emerge green in spring and redden as the weather warms. The species, Imperata cylindrica, should not be grown: it is considered one of the world's worst weeds and is highly invasive. Canopy coverage: 1 square foot.

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Miscanthus 'Giganteus'

Giant Chinese Silvergrass

Massive and dramatic are two words that describe Giant Chinese Silvergrass. Not a plant for a small garden, it is versatile, serving as a background, screen or specimen. Cut back to 6 to 12 inches above plant crown in early spring to renew growth. Seedheads are definitely eye-catching. In hot summer regions locate plants where they will receive some afternoon shade. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet.

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Miscanthus sinensis

Japanese Silver Grass

Many selections of Japanese Silver Grass are available. 'Variegata' has attractive variegated leaves (shown). In hot summer regions locate plants where they will receive some afternoon shade. Canopy coverage: 13 square feet.

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Muhlenbergia capillaris

Pink Muhly

Seedheads are the attraction of Pink Muhly. 'Regal Mist' is an improved selection with fine-textured seedheads that present an airy "mist" of deep pink. Plants may be semievergreen. Canopy coverage: 13 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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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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