One of the easiest ways to create gentle sound and movement in the garden is with the use of ornamental grasses. Most of these are very adaptable and easy to grow and maintain, but you must be sure they are suitable for your zone. There are numerous zone 8 ornamental grass varieties from which to choose. The problem will be narrowing down which of these lovely plants will fit in your garden.
Choosing Ornamental Grass for Zone 8
Using ornamental grasses has become something of a rage lately. Their visual impact paired with their ability to fit into many landscape situations has made them a popular garden addition. Zone 8 ornamental grasses may experience temperatures as low as 10 to 20 degrees F. (-12 to -7 C.). Such chilly conditions can be detrimental for the tropical grasses, but there is still a wide variety from which to choose. Ornamental grasses come in a variety of specifications and types. There are both deciduous and evergreen varieties, drought tolerant and water loving, sun and shade species, as well as numerous sizes. The characteristic of your grass will depend upon where you are situating the plant and what effect you hope to achieve. Few things are as gorgeous as a mass planting of swaying grasses, but this may be too much in smaller garden situations. The statuesque pampas grass is familiar to many but its massive size of up to 7 feet (2 m.) may not be suitable for every garden. Blood grass is a stunning plant but is deciduous in most areas. The sudden disappearance of foliage in winter might not be the effect you are going for. Growing ornamental grass in zone 8 takes a bit more consideration than just knowing the hardiness zone, since there are so many from which to choose.
Zone 8 Ornamental Grasses for Shade
After hardiness, the exposure a plant needs is probably the biggest consideration and shady areas are the toughest to find.
- A shade-loving ornamental grass for zone 8 might be Berkeley sedge. It is a low growing, clumping, deeply green grass.
- Japanese forest grass is another magnificent shade loving specimen. It has deeply gold foliage perfect for brightening up dim areas.
- Fiber optic grass is a cute little plant with unique foliage that prefers moist areas.
- Northern sea oats have rattle-like seed heads which dangle ornamentally from the plant.
- Purple moor grass likes a bit of sun but tolerates shade.
- A plant that isn't a true grass but has the same feel is liriope. This plant comes in green, variegated, or purple black. It is an excellent shade plant to decorate along pathways or the borders of beds.
Sunny Zone 8 Ornamental Grass Varieties
Growing ornamental grass in zone 8 sunshine is effortless, but some plants like it dry while others like it moist. If you want a quirky plant, try corkscrew rush, a sun lover with twisty leaves. This is a moisture lover as are:
The list for drought tolerant sun lovers is bigger.
- Fountain grass is an airy, mounding plant with white plumes. Purple fountain grass has tidy mounding deeply burgundy blades and soft, fuzzy blooms.
- An erect, colorful plant, little bluestem is a brilliant and tough plant for dry, sunny locations.
- Blue oat grass has brilliant blue arching foliage with tan colored inflorescences.
- If you want a lovely annual, purple millet might be your plant. It grows 5 feet (1.5 m) tall in a season with thick tufted flowers.
Almost any color, size, and site can be accommodated with ornamental grasses, making them a perfect addition for the home.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.