How To Space Ornamental Grasses

Spacing Ornamental Grasses

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to spacing grasses.

Smaller grasses, such as fescues, are easy to plant and to transplant when they start to crowd each other.

Small rnamental grasses can look great in large pots, too.

Small ornamental grasses can look great in large pots, too.

Larger grasses (the tall prairie grasses – Panicum, Sorghastrum, Andropogon as well as Miscanthus) take a lot more effort to dig up once they are firmly established.

So perhaps a rule-of-thumb for spacing the taller grasses would be to consider the mature height of the foliage and divide that number in half. For example:  if  Miscanthus Gracillimus is expected to grow to approximately 6′ in height, then dividing that number in half gives you a spacing distance of 3′.

Adjustments can be made considering the desired use and appearance of the plantings.

The sweep of the large grasses can be mesmerizing!

For the most part, it comes down to personal taste and what you want in a landscape.  Landscape architects often space grasses farther apart, so the plants create a pattern and the form of each is visible.  Bold romantic designers want a garden that is packed with color and texture with no soil visible.  Still others desire the impact made by large drifts of grasses, all touching to form the famous Amber Wave look.

Try to balance your budget with your personal taste !  And…

Consider the purpose for planting the area:

– if for erosion control, a more dense planting is required

– a June wedding or a summer garden tour will need an established look right away

– grasses can be transplanted from a densely planted area to help fill in, or expand into, another area

Ornamental grasses are easy to plant and easy to maintain.

TIP: In the first year grasses sleep, in the second year they creep, and in the third year this leap!

ANOTHER TIP: Dense planting discourages weeds and shades the soil, reducing evaporation and water usage.


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