Loma Vista Nursery News

Fall-ing in Love with Grasses

What’s not to love about ornamental grasses? They’re versatile, attractive and virtually maintenance free. With plumes, arching branches and interesting colors, many come into their own in early fall. Here are a few we love from our nursery.

Adagio Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’)

Adagio Maiden Grass

Showy plumes emerge as delicate wisps of gold from elegant arching foliage in Adagio Maiden Grass. Plumes turn white as the green grass transitions to orange and then burgundy in fall. Leave up for winter interest and to benefit birds. Plant in groupings, containers or in mixed perennial borders with ninebark and juniper.

Adagio Maiden Grass has a narrow compact form and is fast-growing to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide at maturity. Water-wise, it requires additional moisture only when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. This herbaceous perennial likes full or partial sun. Plant in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.

Northwind Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’)

Northwind Switch Grass

The emerald-green foliage of Northwind Switch Grass turns yellow in fall. Paddle-like flowers produce showy seed heads that offer seasonal interest. Strong stems stand up to winter’s worst, providing protection for songbirds. Plant this herbaceous perennial in areas where erosion control is needed.

Northwind Switch Grass has a moderate growth rate. At maturity, it stands 4- to 6-feet tall and 2- to 3-feet wide. Pair with weigela, coneflower and tickseed. Plant in full or partial sun, in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.

Heavy Metal Blue Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’)

Heavy Metal Blue Switch Grass

Landscape contractors planning to create large open-space meadows or wild gardens will appreciate Heavy Metal Blue Switch Grass. It not only looks good with green foliage and pink flowers in late summer to fall, it stands up to its tough name. Adaptable to climate conditions, it is a North American natural native grass.

It is fast growing, stands up to winds and climate conditions, and is a good choice in areas where erosion control is needed. Heavy Metal Blue Switch Grass has an upright and clumping habit. It reaches 3 feet tall and wide at maturity. As part of a naturalistic planting, it pairs well with coneflower and tickseed. Plant in full or partial sun in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.

Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

Prairie Dropseed

Petite and sweet, Prairie Dropseed grows slowly and doesn’t get larger than 1.5-feet tall to 3-feet tall when in bloom. Its late-summer panicles are fragrant, wheat-brown and airy. Foliage turns copper in autumn. This ornamental grass is a pretty accent plant and ground cover. It is attractive when planted en masse.

Easy care with a mounded habit, pair Prairie Dropseed with coneflower, black-eyed Susan, phlox and other seasonal perennials.  It rarely self-seeds and is long-lived. Plant in full sun, in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.

Blackhawks Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

Blackhawks Big Bluestem

Blackhawks Big Bluestem delivers fall color and visual interest in the landscape. Foliage starts out deep green, then turns purple and matures to black as the seasons change. Plant en masse for added interest.

Blackhawks Big Bluestem is drought tolerant and grows in a variety of soil conditions, including those that are poor. This perennial grass has an upright habit and is fast growing. It is 4- to 5-feet tall with plumes (1.5 feet without) and 2 feet wide at maturity. Plant in sun. Performs best in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.

Prairie Blues Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Prairie Blues’)

Prairie Blues Little Bluestem

Perfect along walkways and paths, Prairie Blues Little Bluestem also works nicely tucked between other perennials near the front-of-the border. This is a perfect ornamental grass for meadow plantings. It is a sustainable choice for green roof installations because of its drought tolerance.

Prairie Blues Little Bluestem has beautiful blue, then blue-green foliage that turns red in fall. Cotton-like seed heads bloom early in the third season. It has a medium growth rate, maturing to 3 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide. Plant in sun, in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.

For information about Loma Vista Nursery’s ornamental grasses – as well as our in-ground and container trees, landscape shrubs and perennials – visit www.lomavistanursery.com.

Learn More About Landscape Plants from Loma Vista Nursery

Loma Vista Nursery’s staff members are experts in the field. We love helping people learn and understand more about healthy plants that perform well in Midwest landscapes. For more information, visit our plant catalog. Feel free to email us at sales@lomavistanursery.com or call us at (785) 229-7200 to get answers to your plant-related questions.

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