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, typically low maintenance and year-round appeal. Many make great groundcovers and several are good in containers. Some tall grasses are ideal for the back of the garden.

What to grow 
There are a range of useful exotic and native grasses available in Auckland. Visit our 'Plants for Auckland' database for easy and attractive grasses to plant in your garden. 

How to plant

  • Although most grasses grow easily and are adaptable, most prefer soils that do not become waterlogged.
  • In very heavy soils, add compost prior to planting.
  • Always plant grasses at the same depth they were planted in their container.

How to grow

  • Evergreen grasses that look poor can be rejuvenated 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 dried old 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)