Ornamental grasses can be evergreen or deciduous. Many are grown mainly for their foliage, but some also produce attractive flowers.
Grasses can play an important role in gardens by providing textural contrast. They are also typically low maintenance and provide year-round appeal. Many make excellent groundcovers, and several are good in containers. Some tall grasses are ideal for the back of the garden.
What to grow
There is a range of useful exotic and native grasses available in Auckland.
- Although most grasses grow quickly and are adaptable, most prefer soils that do not become waterlogged.
- In very heavy soils, add compost before planting.
- Always plant grasses at the same depth they were planted in their container.
How to grow
- Rejuvenate shabby evergreen grasses by cutting them back a few centimetres above ground level. Sometimes it is sufficient to drag a rake through the grass to remove old leaves.
- The old dried leaves of some deciduous grasses (such as Miscanthus) can remain attractive through winter. These are best removed in early spring before new growth emerges.
- New plants can be produced by dividing old clumps or collecting and sowing seed.
Top image: Speckled sedge (Carex testacea)