Grasses, Sedges & Rushes
Showing 17–24 of 24 results
Luzula nivea Snowy woodrush 5-8
Dense white flower clusters in June-July
Dense white flower clusters in June-July. Leaves are evergreen with fuzzy margins. The best grass for shade.
Size: 24” x 24”
Care: part shade in moist well-drained soil. Deer resistant.
Native: Central and southern Europe, Alps
Species named by Linnaeus in 1750’s. Luzula in Latin means “light.” Nivea means “snow white.” According to Liberty Hyde Bailey the flowers are “useful in dried bouquets.”(1933)
Melica ciliata Silky spike melic grass Z 5-9
Arching white flower spikes
Ornamental arching white spikes from June through mid-summer. Especially nice for its early bloom, long before most grasses.
Size: 2' x 12"
Care: full sun in moist well-drained to moist soil. Deer resistant
Native: Eurasia to North Africa
Melica is Greek for “sweet grass.” Collected before late 1700’s.
Miscanthus “Purpurascens” Flame grass Z 4-9
leaves turn brilliant orange red, darkening to burgundy
Flame grass starts in spring with a tinge of red in the leaves, increasing as summer passes. By fall the leaves turn orange-red, darkening to burgundy by winter and retaining the color for months. Tassel-like inflorescences appear in late summer, opening into creamy plumes by fall. It is compact, upright, clump-forming.
Size: 3-4’ x 3-4’
Care: sun to part shade in sandy to clay soils. Cut back in late winter to spring. Deer resistant and tolerant of Walnut trees.
Miscanthus is Greek meaning “stem and flower.” Miscanthus was mentioned in Man’yoshu, a Japanese anthology of poems written in the 8th century, where it symbolized the melancholy of autumn. This specific plant 1st described by botanist Nils Johan Andersson in 1855.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’ Striped Maiden grass Z 4-9
Vertical white srtipes on 4' arching green grass blades, inflorescenses coppery russet in fall,
Vertical white srtipes on 4′ arching green grass blades, inflorescenses coppery russet in fall
Size: 6' x 4' clump forming
Care: Sun moist well-drained soil. Cut back in spring.
Native: S.E. Asia
Miscanthus is Greek meaning stem and flower. Mentioned in Man’yoshu, a Japanese anthology of poems written in the 8th century, where it symbolized the melancholy of autumn. This variegated form frequently used in Victorian bedding designs. American garden cultivation since late 1800’s. Recommended by Gertrude Jekyll, mother of mixed perennial borders, in 1908, for its “great white striped” foliage.
Pennisetum orientale Oriental fountain grass Z 5-10
Showy, white to pinkish inflorescences summer thru fall.
Showy, white to pinkish inflorescences summer thru fall. Richard Darke, grass guru, describes this as “One of the most striking hardy fountain grasses. Low growing, compact and exceptionally floriferous … Blooms over an unusually long period from late June through October”
Size: 2' x 2'
Care: sun in well-drained soil or moist well-drained soil. Deer resistant and drought tolerant.
Native: central & SW Asia
Awards: Elisabeth Carey Miller Botanical Garden Great Plant Picks
The plant is named for its soft inflorescences; Latin penna and seta mean feather-bristle. This species collected before 1821.
Schizachyrium scoparium syn. Andropogon scoparium Little bluestem Z 5-9
Wispy, feather-like seedheads atop blue-grey foliage that turns plum-orange-red in fall.
Wispy, feather-like seedheads atop blue-grey foliage that turns plum-orange-red in fall
Size: 18" x 12"
Care: sun in well-drained soil.
Native: all No. America, Wisconsin native
First collected by French plant hunter André Michaux in America’s prairies c. 1790. Comanche used it to remedy syphilitic sores. Lakota made soft, wispy seedheads into liners for moccasins.
Sesleria heufleriana Balkan Moor grass Z 4-9
Spike-like panicles of white (in very early spring) turning purple atop clumps of gray-blue blades
Spike-like panicles of white,in very early spring, turning purple, atop clumps of gray-blue blades
Size: 24” x 16”
Care: sun to part shade in well-drained soil
Native: open woodlands of Europe
Collected before 1878.
Sporobolus heterolepsis Prairie dropseed Zone 3 – 9
Mound of graceful thinnest of grass blades
The description in the Chiltern Seeds catalog cannot be improved: “This is the most elegant and refined of the North American prairie grasses …the finest texture composed of the thinnest of thin, thread-like, glossy green blades,.. in autumn turning deep orange before fading to a light copper for the winter. In late summer the plants bear, on very slender stalks high above the foliage, unbelievably delicate, graceful flower panicles, excellent for cutting.”
Size: 2’ x 2’
Care: Full sun in well-drained soil
Native: from Canada in the north to Texas in the south, Wisconsin native
Sporobolos is Greek from sporo meaning seed and ballein meaning to cast forth because the seed readily falls from the flower (or dropseed, the common name). Ojibwa “Medicine Society” used roots to cure sores & “remove bile.”