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Aug 172012
 
blue fescue

Fescues add texture to naturalized plantings. Photo courtesy of Judy Sedbrook

Water Conserving Landscapes

These grasses require little care and minimal water after establishment to remain attractive. They are generally drought and heat tolerant.

Common Name Scientific Name Regional Adaptation
Arizona Fescue Festuca arizonica N, SW, SC, SE
Big Bluestem Andropogon gerardii N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Blue Fescue Festuca glauca N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Blue Grama Bouteloua gracilis N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Blue Oat Grass Helictotrichon sempervirens N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Idaho Fescue Festuca idahoensis N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Indian Grass Sorghastrum nutans N, SW, SC, SE
Indian Rice Grass Oryzopsis hymenoides N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Little Bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Prairie Dropseed Sporobolus heterolepsis N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Prairie June Grass Koeleria pyramidata N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Sand Love Grass Eragrostis trichodes N, SW, SC, SE
Side Oats Grama Bouteloua curtipendula N, SW, SC, SE, HA

Maiden grass

Maiden grass holds up well in winter. Photo courtesy of Judy Sedbrook

Naturalized Plantings

Many grasses will thrive under no-care situations in Idaho, even in the driest areas. They can be planted with native wildflowers and shrubs to create attractive, natural-looking landscapes. Some of the best grasses for naturalizing are spreading, rather than clumping in growth habit, giving them the ability to fill in bare areas.

Common Name Scientific Name Regional Adaptation
Arizona Fescue Festuca arizonica N, SW, SC, SE
Big Bluegrass Poa secunda var. canbyi N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Blue Fescue Festuca glauca N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Blue Grama Bouteloua gracilis N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Buffalo Grass Buchloe dactyloides N, SW, SC, SE
Crested Wheatgrass Agropyron cristatum N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Idaho Fescue Festuca idahoensis N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Prairie Dropseed Sporobolus heterolepsis N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Prairie June Grass Koeleria pyramidata N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Sandberg Bluegrass Poa secunda var. sandbergii N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Sheep Fescue Festuca ovina N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Snake River Wheatgrass Elymus wawawaiensis N, SW, SC, SE, HA

Winter grass

Tall grasses provide winter texture

Grasses for Winter Interest

Although consistently wet or moist soils are not common, especially in southern Idaho, such sites are often created artificially in the landscape. Below is a list of plants that thrive under such conditions.

Common Name Scientific Name Regional Adaptation
Blue Oat Grass Helictotrichon sempervirens N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Feather Reed Grass Calamagrostis x acutifolia N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Flame Grass Miscanthus ‘purpurescens’ N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Korean Feather Reed Grass Calamagrostis brachytricha N, SW, SC, SE
Maiden Grass Miscanthus sinensis N, SW, SC, SE
Northern Sea Oats Chasmanthium latifolium N, SW, SC
Switch Grass Panicum virgatum N, SW, SC, SE, HA

Penn Rub grass in container

Tender fountain grass makes a good container specimen. Photo courtesy of Judy Sedbrook

Tender Grasses Grown as Annuals

Some of the most attractive ornamental grasses are not hardy in Idaho. This includes many of the Pennisetum varieties that come in a remarkable array of foliage and flower spike colors. Many of these will still grow here if treated as annuals. Some of the tender grasses make very good container specimens. Here is a short list of tender grasses that can be grown as annuals.

Common Name Scientific Name Regional Adaptation
Feather Top Pennisetum villosum N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Lemon Grass Cymbopogon selloana N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Purple Millet Pennisetum glaucum N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Ruby Grass Melinus nerviglumis N, SW, SC, SE, HA
Tender Fountain Grass Pennisetum setaceum N, SW, SC, SE, HA
 August 17, 2012