Which Grasses Stand up in Winter?

Good choices for winter interest are: switchgrass, Indian grass, miscanthus, little bluestem, feather reedgrass, and river oats. Under heavy wet snow, all plants fall over, but as the snow comes off, many of the above grasses will stand up again. IMG_6190IMG_9472 IMG_9607

‘Northwind’ switchgrass
‘Karl Forester’ feather reedgrass
little bluestem


About grasstalk

University of Minnesota Professor and Extension Horticulturist
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2 Responses to Which Grasses Stand up in Winter?

  1. carol jones says:

    I am set to plant grass seeds I wonder could you suggest how and when to start
    I have been looking for answers now for help I have pampas, reed , all sorts.
    Thanks Carol

    • grasstalk says:

      Most ornamental and many native grasses are propagated by divisions, rather than seed. If you use seed, it takes much longer, and each plant can be quite variable. This is good for diversity but not so much for landscape settings where we usually want consistency and plants that will look good. Many of the ornamental grasses are selections that will vary when propagated from seed, using divisions means they will look just like the parent plant. So if you sow little bluestem seed, you will get many different sized plants from this seed. If you divide a plant of Blue HeavenTM or Tara prairie dropseed, all of the new plants will look alike.
      Starting seed requires good viable seed and many grasses require a cold treatment prior to germination. You can try sowing the seed in potting soil and see what comes up. you can also put the seed in the fridge for 6-8 weeks for a cold treatment before planting it. Good Luck!
      Hope this helps! Mary

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