Ornamental Grasses UK: RHS Buying Guide for Stunning Gardens

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In the world of gardening, Ornamental Grasses UK stands tall—literally and figuratively. These graceful plants, often overlooked, can transform your garden into a masterpiece. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice, exploring the world of ornamental grasses is a journey worth taking. In this article, we’ll delve into the beauty of ornamental grass, explore popular varieties like stipa, miscanthus, carex, and Pennisetum, and guide you on buying these beauties, all with the expert touch of RHS Gardening.

UK Garden Oasis with Festuca Glauca

How to Grow Stunning Ornamental Grasses in Your UK Garden?
Ornamental grasses add graceful beauty and four-season interest to any garden. With their attractive flower plumes, foliage textures, and natural movement, ornamental grasses enhance landscape designs from traditional cottage gardens to contemporary minimalist spaces.

  1. How to Choosing Ornamental Grasses for Your Site?

    With hundreds of ornamental grass varieties suitable for UK gardens, start by considering your growing conditions and design needs.

  2. How to Prepare the Planting Site?

    Ornamental grasses thrive in well-drained soil and most will tolerate less than ideal soil conditions. However, preparing the site properly before planting will give them the best start.

  3. How to Designing With Ornamental Grasses?

    Whether used as accents or massed plantings, ornamental grasses add texture, movement, and versatility to garden beds and borders.

Certainly! Here’s a helpful column table about ornamental grasses in the UK:

Ornamental Grass VarietyHeightSunlight RequirementsSoil TypeMaintenanceSpecial Features
MiscanthusVariedFull sun to part shadeWell-drainedLowFeathery plumes in fall
PennisetumVariedFull sunWell-drainedLowFountain-like seed heads
FestucaVariedFull sun to part shadeWell-drainedLowBlue or green foliage
HakonechloaLowPart shade to shadeMoistLowGraceful arching habit
CarexVariedFull sun to full shadeMoist to dryLow to moderateEvergreen varieties


  • Heights are approximate and may vary based on specific cultivars.
  • Sunlight requirements indicate the grass’s preference but many can adapt to different light conditions.
  • Soil type preferences can vary, but well-drained soil is generally preferred.
  • Maintenance is categorized as low, moderate, or high based on general care needs.
  • Special features highlight unique characteristics that make each grass variety appealing.
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This table provides a quick reference guide for selecting ornamental grasses based on specific criteria, helping gardeners make informed decisions for their UK gardens.

Majestic Cortaderia Selloana in UK Setting

Exploring the World of Ornamental Grass

Ornamental grasses are the unsung heroes of the garden, adding a touch of elegance and texture that flowers alone can’t achieve. These perennial wonders come in a wide range of varieties, from the feathery plumes of miscanthus to the arching leaves of stipa. What makes them truly special is their ability to thrive in various conditions, making them easy to grow and maintain.

One of the stars in the world of ornamental grass is miscanthus sinensis. This clump-forming grass is renowned for its graceful arching leaves and fluffy flower heads that appear in late summer and last well into winter. Its versatility makes it a popular choice for gardens, offering a touch of life through the changing seasons.

Stipa, also known as feather grass, is a delicate yet hardy perennial grass that adds a touch of airiness to any garden. Its slender foliage forms dense clumps, creating a visual spectacle. Pair it with flowering perennials for a dynamic and textured garden.

Miscanthus, with its tall plumes and upright stems, is a showstopper. This grass spreads to form neat and compact clumps, making it a perfect addition to any garden. Its green and yellow foliage adds vibrancy, and it thrives in both sun and partial shade.

Carex, commonly known as sedge, is a British native that forms clumps of slender green foliage. Ideal for well-drained soil in sun or partial shade, carex is a versatile grass that can be part of a mixed planting scheme. Its low-maintenance nature makes it a gardener’s delight.

Pennisetum, or fountain grass, is another gem in the ornamental grass family. With its oat-like plumes and frost-tender leaves, it brings a touch of drama to any landscape. It’s perfect for those looking to create dynamic visual interest in their gardens.

Buying Ornamental Grasses: A Guide

If you’re looking to buy ornamental grasses, RHS Gardening is your go-to source. With a reputation as the leading gardening charity, RHS offers a wide range of ornamental grasses for sale. From miscanthus to stipa, you’ll find the perfect additions to your garden that align with their aim to enrich life through plants.

When selecting ornamental grasses, consider your garden’s specific needs. Some, like pampas grass, thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, while others, like Carex, are adaptable to partial shade. The RHS Gardening platform provides detailed information on each grass, ensuring you make an informed decision.

Adding Texture to Your Garden: Tips and Tricks

Ornamental grasses are not just about beauty; they’re about adding texture to your outdoor space. Planted at the back of the border, these grasses create a stunning backdrop for your garden. Their arching leaves and varied foliage forms add depth and interest to any landscape.

For those with gravel gardens, ornamental grasses are a match made in horticultural heaven. Their ability to thrive in well-drained soil makes them the perfect choice for these unique garden settings. Consider mixing different varieties to create a tapestry of colors and textures.

If you’re aiming for a low-maintenance garden that maintains interest throughout the seasons, ornamental grasses are your solution. Many varieties, like miscanthus, last well into winter, providing a visual feast even in the colder months.

Important Considerations: Care and Maintenance

While ornamental grasses are generally easy to grow, they do have specific needs. Most prefer well-drained soil, so be sure to plant them in an area with good drainage. Adding a layer of mulch can help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

When it comes to care, regular pruning can help maintain the shape and health of your ornamental grasses. Cutting them back in late winter or early spring prepares them for the growing season ahead. Remember, these grasses are hardy perennials, and with a little attention, they’ll continue to enhance your garden year after year.

Swaying Miscanthus Sinensis in British Landscape

A Recap: Key Points to Remember

  • Ornamental grasses add elegance and texture to your garden, making them a must-have for any gardener.
  • Popular varieties like miscanthus, Stipa, carex, and Pennisetum offer a range of options for different garden styles.
  • RHS Gardening is a reliable source for buying ornamental grasses, with a diverse selection and expert guidance.
  • Consider the specific needs of each grass, including sunlight requirements and soil type, when planning your garden.
  • Ornamental grasses are low-maintenance but benefit from regular pruning to ensure their health and appearance.

In conclusion, the world of ornamental grasses is vast and varied, offering something for every gardener. Whether you’re drawn to the feathery plumes of miscanthus or the delicate beauty of stipa, these grasses have the power to transform your garden into a haven of elegance and charm. With the guidance of RHS Gardening, you can confidently explore and embrace the beauty of ornamental grasses, adding a touch of nature’s poetry to your outdoor space.

FAQs About Ornamental Grasses in the UK

Q: Where can I buy ornamental grasses in the UK?

A: You can find a diverse selection of ornamental grasses in the UK through reputable gardening outlets, nurseries, and online platforms. RHS Gardening is a trusted source offering a wide range of options.

Q: What are some popular varieties of ornamental grasses in the UK?

A: Stipa, miscanthus, carex, and Pennisetum are among the popular ornamental grass varieties in the UK. These offer a range of textures, colors, and sizes for different garden styles.

Q: Are ornamental grasses easy to grow in the UK climate?

A: Yes, many ornamental grasses are well-suited to the UK climate. They are generally easy to grow, adaptable to different soil types, and require minimal maintenance.

Q: Can I grow ornamental grasses in containers in the UK?

A: Absolutely. Ornamental grasses can thrive in containers, making them a versatile choice for balconies, patios, or small gardens. Ensure the container has good drainage and use quality potting soil.

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