We normally identify grasses as green but sometimes we need something that will add texture, a little bit of architecture and break up the monotony of green in our garden. To accomplish this, consider introducing some of these great looking colorful grasses into your garden.
First up we have the All Gold Japanese forest grass also known as Gold Hakone grass. This is probably one of the best looking most interesting grasses you can find. More importantly, unlike most grasses, this one can be grown in the shade. It will light up your shady spot like nothing else!
This grass is pretty easy to grow and will tolerate the heat here in the south provided you have it shaded during the hottest parts of the day. You also need to remember to water this regularly as it is not particularly drought tolerant though it will take some drought just fine. Some decent soil is also important. No need to go crazy if you have clay soil as I do. Just amend your clay with hummusy type soil. I use the Evergreen brand from Home Depot/Lowed, only $1.25 a bag and plants love it. Like all other grasses it can be transplanted and separated without much heartache though it will take some time to get to a good size before you can separate. Another great quality is that it stays relatively short, perhaps 2-3 feet tall.
One of the important things to keep in mind is that it grows somewhat slow so getting a good size clump to start will make a huge difference. This one is a relatively new introduction so it’s not over planted and is very unique.
Next is Flame Grass, as the name suggests this one turns redish-orange as fall approaches. Blades start off a medium green and gradually turn red at the tips as summer progresses.
This is another easy grower that will grow just fine in average soils and will take half day to all day sun though full sun is recommended, you probably want to put it in a spot that will be shaded into the hotter parts of the day. It will require regular waterings as it’s not very drought tolerant. Growth rate is average and will reach 3 to 4 foot at maturity but again, it’s nice to start with a good size specimen. Works great as either a single specimen or in mass. Particularly attractive when mixed with other plants and shrubs.
Flame grass is an excellent choice to add some color especially going into the fall as the reds and oranges really begin to show. This is another favorite colorful grass that is not particularly over planted here in the south like say Pampas grass. Very unique and great looking grass.
Finally, we have the Shenandoah Switch Grass. This is another grass that gains color as the summer goes along. Similar to the Flame grass but with stronger hues of red and burgundy into the fall. Strong colors make this one particularly interesting as a specimen plant that will contrast nicely with red to purple color schemes in the garden.
Standing in at about 4 foot at maturity, Shenandoah Switch grass is one of the smaller switch grass varieties available so if you like switch grass but want something more compact then this one will work great. Unlike the previous two grasses, this one will tolerate a hot dry site with occasional waterings. It will also tolerate an average to clay alkaline soils. Full sun is best to get the most out of its color. Not a particularly fast grower but the colors make this one well worth the wait.
A great looking colorful grass that will stand on it’s own or mixed into a matching color scheme, the Shenandoah switch grass is both versatile and relatively easy to grow in just about any condition. This is another grass that is not seen very often if at all here in the south so again, you will score high uniqueness points by adding this to your garden.