It’s hard to beat hardy perennial grasses for simple ornamental appeal and minimal maintenance. Here are some of our top suggestions to bring some texture to your garden that will withstand the summer heat.
‘Flamingo’ Maiden Grass – Miscanthus sinensis ‘Flamingo’
Very similar to ‘Malepartus’, this selection of maiden grass has the same arching, mid-green blades, but features plumes of bright pink flowers instead of white. Ht: 5-6 feet, Sp: 3 feet, Zone 4, Sun
‘Heavy Metal’ Switch Grass – Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal
This rugged grass forms a clump of upright, metallic blue blades which develop burgundy-red tips later in the season. Airy inflorescences appear above the foliage in late summer. Drought tolerant once established. Ht: 4-5 feet, Sp: 2-3 feet, Zone 4, Sun
‘Thundercloud’ Switch Grass – Panicum virgatum ‘Thundercloud’
A tall selection of switch grass which produces an airy cloud of pinkish flowers in late summer, atop a clump of stiff, upright, blue-green blades. Drought tolerant once established. Ht: 6 feet, Sp: 2-3 feet, Zone 4, Sun
'Northwind' is a tall ornamental switch grass cultivar which features one of the best vertical forms of any of the switchgrass. Olive-green to bluish-green foliage forms a compact, narrow, erect, 4-5' tall clump of foliage which is topped in late summer by finely-textured, yellow flower panicles which hover over the foliage like an airy cloud. Flower panicles typically bring total plant height to 6'. Panicles turn beige as the seeds mature in fall with the seed plumes persisting well into winter.
This moor-grass cultivar features narrow, arching, blue-green foliage typically rising in a clump 2-3' tall. Stiff, see-through flower spikes with tiny purplish flowers rise well above the foliage clump in July to a total height of 6-8 feet. Spikes quiver in the slightest breeze. Spikes and foliage turn golden yellow to orange-yellow in fall and eventually a light tan. The species is native to bogs and moors in Europe and Asia.