Native grasses

Tue. Jan. 24, 2017

Click below to listen to my  Garden Bite radio show:  Native grasses

Using native plants in your landscape offers a lot of benefits other than just beauty.  Native plants offer a wide diversity with an established track record in our climates.  They usually don’t ask for much, just the right sun/shade conditions and the right soil, wet, moist or dry. Using native plants is good for the environment and good for our local growers.

Little bluestem ‘Blue Heaven’






‘Blue Heaven’s parents come from Benton County, Minnesota!  This native is Big Bluestem and grows to 8 feet tall.  You’ll likely recognize it!

Big Bluestem

And then there’s the short ‘Side Oats Grama’ that grows to 16 inches tall and is great planted on steep hills as it holds the soil well.

Sideoats Grama

Once established, native grasses are carefree.  There are other cold climate grasses that add 3 seasons of interest. If you get the chance, go to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and check out their ornamental grass collection.  All of these grasses are good for Wisconsin, Iowa and other Midwestern states and moe.   If you click on the link, you’ll find yourself at the U of MN’s Extension site gazing at the grasses!   There’s a book called Ornamental Grasses for Cold Climates written by M Hockenberry Meyer, a U of MN horticulture scientist.

Prairie Dropseed (before flowering) and salvia

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