Many perennial ornamental grass are not frost hardy and should be treated as annual in cold climates.  Many of these are lovely used as the centerpiece of a large container, as a backdrop in a perennial border, or as accents.

Rubrum Purple Fountain Grass by Midwest Gardening.jpg

Fountaingrass:  Pennisetum setaceium  ‘Rubrum is a tender fountain grass commonly grown in flower beds and in container plantings.  Graceful upright plumes arch as the flower stalks get tall.  Plumes are soft purple and the foliage is burgundy green.  This dwarf variety reaches about 2 to 3 feet and can serve as a striking focal point in any planting.  Fountain grass performs well in full sun to part shade.  Although it is drought tolerant, it will do just fine with regular watering when planted with other annuals that require a moist soil.  Fountaingrass does not self seed. Hardy only to zone 9.


Cymbopogon citratus Lemon Grass by Scmperdale.jpg

Lemon Grass:  Cymbopogon citratus This aromatic lemon flavored grass is a wonderful ornmanental accent grass as well as an herb.  The branched cluster can reach 6 feet tall in warm climates, grown as an annual in cold climates it generally reaches about 2-3’ by season end.  Light green leaf blades arch gracefully and has a lemony fragrance when crushed or bruised.  Grow in full sun and well drained soil, with average watering.  Lemon grass grows rapidly, and easily grown from seed.  It is lovely bordering a pathway, in containers or as a bright vertical accent. Cut stalks when young for flavoring or tea, commonly used in Asian cooking.


Melinus nerviglumis Ruby Grass by Midwest Gardening.jpg

Ruby Grass:  Melinis nerviglumis  ‘Savannah’ is a beautiful clumping grass that sways with soft breezes.  Ruby pink flowers open up into fluffy plumes, putting on a lovely display from late summer to late fall.  The flower plumes rise from blue green erect foliage that turns red purple in fall.  This is a perfect small accent or filler grass, growing to only about 12*18” high and spreading 9-12” wide.  It prefers full sun, regular watering (but do not overwater) and well drained soil.  Ruby Grass will grow easily from seed and may self seed.  Cut flower plumes are great for arrangements.  ‘Pink Crystals’ is very similar to ‘Savannah’. Hardy only to zone 8, where it is evergreen.