Planting ornamental perennial grasses around fountain

Asked April 14, 2019, 2:21 PM EDT

I have a waterfall fountain with perennials around it. I planted some ornamental grass but after so long the roots spread and it took over my flower bed. Since I'm unable to crawl up the rocks to do gardening, is there any type of grass that stays in one clump and doesn't take over you bed? I live in michigan

Oakland County Michigan gardening ornamental grasses horticulture flowers: annuals and herbaceous perennials

1 Response

Thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Grasses have been my nemesis and a blessing in my gardens over the years. I have many funny stories about trying to remove some of the larger grasses that outgrew their spot or needed to be divided because they died out in the middle.

Some questions for you to consider. Is the area full or part shade? Is the area shaded? How much watering is done and what is your soil type? Since you've had grasses I'm going to assume you have full or part sun.

Most perennial grasses do run. How much so depends on how favorable your growing conditions are for them. If you want to have no running I would encourage you to look as some of the annual grasses which are absolutely stunning. Look into 'Vertigo', any of the 'Tut' pampas grasses, or Purple Fountain grass.

One of my favorite grass type plants are the Hakenechloa grasses. Another favorite is 'Karl Foster' which stays more upright. Hakenechloa is more floppy. Smaller grass-plants are Liriope and sedges (of which there are many new varieties). Liriope does spread but is a nice low growing and low maintenance ground cover. Check out Pink Muhly grass too.

I hope this gets you started! Remember all perennials will try to spread but these are not aggressive spreaders. Stick to the annuals if you want no spreading. Most of all decide upon the look you want and have fun with your new design!