Weeds in the beds

There are many advantages of grasses! In the flower beds, these plants forming light tufts bring movement, reflect light and evoke lightness. The family is so large that it is possible to find plants suitable for shade as well as full sun, small sizes or even huge depending on the desired effect.

Pennisetum in a bed of annuals and perennials
Pennisetum in a bed of annuals and perennials

Choosing the right grasses for bedding

  • The choice of grasses that will adorn your beds should be made according to the weather because there are plants much more hardy than others. Some grasses of the genus Pennisetum, especially cultivars with colorful foliage, are frosty, just like cane from Provence. These plants will only be considered in gardens where winters remain very mild.

  • For a perennial decor, choose grasses perennials evergreen, thus the framework of your decoration will be planted and you will only have to add annuals each year to further magnify the scene. Blue oats (Helictotrichon sempervirens), Carex which are assimilated to family grasses are also good options. Fescues, many Stipas, le Zoysia (which makes a very good ecological substitute for grass), are all plants with foliage persistent.

  • Ease of maintenance is one of the selection criteria and joins the previous paragraph because the evergreen grasses do not require any pruning action, simply combing in spring, unlike deciduous species that will have to be pruned every year.

  • Invasion must be calculated in advance, because in a massif, the grasses are generally used by punctual touches to form tufts or well-defined borders. Some grasses with creeping rhizomes, such as many bamboo species, should be avoided or contained by means of anti-rhizome barriers.

  • Last parameters which will be developed later, adult height, l’exposition required (sun or shade), as well as the nature of the soil will necessarily guide you in your choice.

Low grasses

On the edge of a raised massif, Hakonechloa macraAura’ foliage plume of gold forms a tuft with a drooping port not exceeding 30 cm in height, it is ideal for damp and shaded areas and brings a little exotic side to perfection!

The essential blue fescue does not exceed 30 cm in height for as much spread, it finds its place in a mineral massif, staged thanks to a mulch of slate or white gravel, just like the splendid Ophiopogon noir, ideal for creating a very interesting contrast with white flowers or plants with silvery foliage in the beds.

Many sedges lend themselves to the same uses, with them there is something for all types of soil and all exposure. The little Carex morrowii ‘Aureovariegata’ with yellow foliage edged with green will thrive in the shade in cool ground while the Carex oshimensisEverest’ will prefer full sun and dry soil.

Medium sized grasses

Placed punctually in the middle zone of a massif, the grasses of average height will bring all the lightness of their banded foliage and their inflorescences moving at the slightest breath of air.

Bouteloua gracilis, forms a tuft of 50 cm in height presenting from the end of summer strange horizontal brown / silver spikes. This plant appreciates the beds with calcareous and dry soil.

Elymus magellanicus is remarkable for its bluish color and its elegant habit, the threadlike spikes of the same shade further underline the graphic side of this plant.

To give lightness and a little wild side in a massif, nothing like Stipa tenuifolia. Feathery at will, it dances in the wind and reflects the light like no other.

Also think about Pennisetum orientale to magnify a sunny massif, its spikes as pink as they are sweet will delight you all fall, but beware, it is not very rustic!

In partial shade and in cool soil, opt for diamond grass (Calamagrostis brachytria) which owes its name to the ability of its large, feathery inflorescences to retain water drops.

In the shade, count on Luzula nivea, a surprising plant with its fine foliage edged with a border of white down but also with its rounded white inflorescences. Very original also and requiring the same shaded exposure, Chasmanthium latifolium is a slender grass (80 cm high for 50 cm spreading) with large light green leaves. In autumn, the flat, oval ears turn purple.

Giant grasses

In the background of a bed or to frame it lightly, plant Miscanthus giganteus which, in fresh soil, will reach up to 3 m in height. Its very light inflorescences take on beige / pink tints in autumn and winter.

Very easy to grow, Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foester’ is distinguished by its very vertical habit. This grass tolerates all types of soil and remains a hardiness exceptional.

Pampas grass, very resistant and forming magnificent feather dusters in autumn should not be forgotten, nor cane from Provence which will thrive in mild climates and moist soil.


Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.

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