MN native grasses

Asked March 20, 2019, 10:41 PM EDT

I'm looking for a native perennial grass similar to pampas with the large white or cream colored plumes in the fall, preferably 4 to 5 foot tall grasses. I've seen them throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin on people's property and farms next to the roadside and I've always wondered exactly what type of perennial grasses they are, they're beautiful. Thank you for any information. Cathy Gough.

Minnesota native grasses

1 Response

Hi Cathy! Thanks for the question.

Ornamental or decorative grasses can be a striking addition to any property. However depending upon the soil texture, its fertility, and the availability of light, it can sometimes take a few years to get them established. Patience is important. Be sure that you select grasses that are designed for growing zones 3 or 4 and higher. Avoid those that are designated for growing zone 5 and higher.

The following publication by the University of Illinois will provide you information regarding the planting of ornamental grasses. It should also be applicable for Minnesota.

https://extension.illinois.edu/grasses/howtoplant.cfm

With respect to possible types of grasses, one or more of the following will give you some good possibilities:

https://www.friendsofeloisebutler.org/pages/seasonal/ornamentalgrass.html

http://www.midwestliving.com/garden/ideas/best-ornamental-grasses-for-midwest-gardens/?page=1

https://www.gertens.com/learn/Annuals-Perennials/ornamental-grasses.htm

Lastly, you should consider visiting the Minnesota Arboretum as they have an outstanding collection of decorative grasses. At the very least, look at the following:

http://www.arboretum.umn.edu/UserFiles/File/2012GrassesBrochure.pdf

Good Luck with your project!!