Best Decorative Grasses for Zone 7
Decorative grasses can make a huge impact on your garden. The trick, of course, is to find the right grass or grass like plant that will do best in zone 7. The thing about zone 7 is that the weather is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. With this in mind you have to pick some grasses that are both hardy and heat tolerant. Below are some grasses that will do great in Zone 7.
Pampas grass is a zone 7 favorite because it is both heat tolerant and very hardy. In addition, it can have a huge impact on your garden. In fact it can be one of the most impressive plants in your garden collection. It features both thick, lush fountain like foliage and some extremely beautiful plumes that come in white or pink. In addition, the plumes add some winter interest even after the plant has dried and gone dormant for the winter.
Despite it’s popularity, Pampas Grass can prove a bit tricky to grow. The keys to growing a beautiful clump of Pampas Grass is 3 fold. Provide it with full sun, give it plenty of room (these grasses can get extremely large) and plant it in well draining soil. The first 2 may prove easy enough. The last no so much. Many a starter plant has met its doom because it is planted in a soil that does not drain well. This is particularly important during the winter as a clump will quickly die on you during the winter months if not planted in well draining soil. If you have nothing but clay,as is the case in much of zone 7, then some good soil amendments will be required. As an alternative, it can be planted at the top of a slope where the water will drain nicely. Many if the well established grasses here in Tennessee are planted at the top of sloping landscape. Nicely sized plants are quite common in big box stores and local nurseries so finding some quality plants should prove quite easy.
Zebra grass is prized for its white striped weeping foliage, hence the name. This grass grows very nicely here in zone 7 as it is both hardy and heat tolerant. Another nice quality is the fact that it is tolerant of varying soil conditions, so it will grow in all but poorly draining soils.
As with many large decorative grasses, zebra grass should be grown in full sun conditions for best results. That being said, it will tolerate a bit of shade without any problems. These grasses can get up to 7 feet tall but will remain somewhat compact spread wise, getting up to 4 feet wide. This grass is non invasive so it can be planted along other plants in garden bed type setting. Despite its nice growth habit and ease of care, it does not seem to be quite as popular as the pampas grass so you can still have so you can plant this yet still be original. Like the Pampas Grass this can be found at many big box stores and local nurseries.
Japanese Forest Grass
Japanese Forest grass is perhaps one of the most stunning grasses you can plant. The lime/yellow waterfall like foliate is truly amazing , quite beautiful and really stands out amongst green foliage plants. In my opinion, the best looking grass that can be grown here in zone 7.
Unlike many decorative grasses, this one needs to be grown in part shade to part shade conditions. This Japanese native grows on the wet, rocky cliffs in the mountains of the southeast Honshu, Japan so it will not tolerate long exposure to the hot sun here in zone 7. That being said, it is quite easy to grow provided you plant it in some rich well draining moist soil. This grass will be right at home planted amongst your Hostas. Finding this grass at the big box stores can be difficult, so you may want to check out your local nurseries. You will also need a lot of patience because they grow very slowly. Don’t expect to have a large beautiful clump as you see in pictures for a few years unless you shell out big bucks for larger specimens.