Ornamental grasses are a beautiful way to add a soft, natural look to almost any landscape. Ornamental grasses are ideal for Canadian climates. There are many popular grasses that grow well in Canada and Calgary’s climate. The great thing about these grasses is they are extremely hardy and so the chance of winter kill is very rare. Grasses are also drought tolerant and need far less moisture than most other shrubs and perennials. Ornamental grasses are also very low maintenance. Here are some ornamental grasses ideal for Canadian climates.
Karl foerster reed grass
Karl foerster reed grass is the most popular ornamental grass we plant in Calgary. It is very drought tolerant and low maintenance. The Karl foerster provides great colour year round. They have beautiful seed heads that can be left on during the winter to provide lovely fall and winter colour. Once spring arrives you can simply cut them back in spring and wait for the new growth to appear. Karl foerster can grow to over 6 feet in some cases and look best when planted in groups of odd numbers. For photos of Karl Foerster reed grass visit shrubs Calgary
Watch our video on Pruning your Karl Foerster feather reed grass
Avalanche reed grass and overdam reed grass.
If you are looking for a little more colour and variation in your ornamental grass, you can consider avalanche reed grass and overdam reed grass. The blades on these grasses are variegated meaning they have a mix of green and cream white. These grasses are also very rough tolerant and in some cases can be left throughout the summer with little or no tap watering required. Both the avalanche reed grass and the
overdam reed grass will not grow as tall as Karl Forester but will grow to a similar width. Like other ornamental grasses, they look best in groupings. We prefer to group them in odd numbers of three or five plants.
Blue Oat grass
Blue oat grass is one of our favourite ornamental grasses ideal for Canadian climates. Blue oat grass has a rich grey blue colour that compliments any garden bed. They are a lower, mound growing form of ornamental grass that look great in a modern or traditional landscape. We often use them in a modern landscaping Calgary project as they give a feel of modern Palm springs or Palm desert homes. From a distance, they can be mistaken for a type of dessert cactus that is popular in gardens throughout the Phoenix and Palm spring areas. Blue oat grass are super hardy and super tough early handling our Calgary winters. Their blades can be left on in the winter to provide winter interest in your landscaping. Like the Karl Forester it is best to prune the dead growth back once spring arrives.
Fescue ornamental grass is a dwarf ornamental grass that is much smaller than the grasses mentioned earlier. Fescue grass looks great bordering garden beds when placed in the front. Fescue requires very little water throughout the summer and they are very low maintenance. These grasses are often used more as ground cover rather than as feature plantings. Fescue grasses come in different colours and add great highlights to your low maintenance landscaping If you are planning on including fescue grass for your landscaping project please remember that they can tend to seed easily. This means they can take root in other areas of your garden bed and will eventually need to be thinned out.