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Grasses for dry sandy soils and sunny hot planting locations

Ornamental grasses have come in for a bit a tough time of late. Somehow grasses have been implicated in the misplaced ‘modernisation’ of gardening. I put this down to the Pampas effect. But there is so much more to grasses than pampas, and what’s wrong with pampas anyway? Surely this is the work of the stick in the mud brigade; lets all move just get gardening shall we?

In truth grasses are becoming increasingly popular as versatile plants that can both in-fill gaps and prolong seasonal interest within mixed planting of herbaceous plants, ground cover and low shrubs. Grasses are also of great value as they have both an attractive spiky form throughout the summer months, only to often provide a splash of impressive flower spikes in the late summer and early autumn, when many other herbaceous plants and shrubs have run out of steam.

Grasses are also useful because as a rule they will tolerate poorer sandy soil types as well as flourish in our increasingly hot dry summer months. Whether planting in a pot as a specimen, as focal points within plantings, or planting in drifts mixed with herbaceous flowers and ground cover, there is always a place for ornamental grasses somewhere in the garden.


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Latin &
Common Name
EarmarkType & FormFlowers & Foliage
Stipa gigantea - Spanish Oat grass, StipaStipa gigantea

Spanish Oat grass, Stipa
Herbaceous Flowers, Grass, Container-friendly, SpikeyWhite flowers (Summer)
Ophiopogon planiscapus - Nigrescens - Lily turfOphiopogon planiscapus

'Nigrescens'

Lily turf
Grass, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpikeyWhite flowers (Summer)
Cortaderia selloana - Pampass Grass, CortaderiaCortaderia selloana

Pampass Grass, Cortaderia
Grass, SpikeyWhite flowers (Summer late)
Stipa tenuissima - Wavy Hair grass, StipaStipa tenuissima

Wavy Hair grass, Stipa
Grass, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading archingCream flowers (Summer late)
Miscanthus sinensis - Yakushima Dwarf - Elephant grass, MiscanthusMiscanthus sinensis

'Yakushima Dwarf'

Elephant grass, Miscanthus
Grass, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpikeyWhite flowers (Summer late)
Carex - Comans-Bronze - Sedge, CarexCarex

Comans-Bronze

Sedge, Carex
Grass, SpikeyGolden flowers (Summer late)
Festuca glauca - Elijah BlueFestuca glauca

'Elijah Blue'
Grass, Ground cover, Alpine, Container-friendly, Rounded - ClumpNon-flowering
Pennisetum villosum - Fountain grass, PennisetumPennisetum villosum

Fountain grass, Pennisetum
Grass, Container-friendly, SpikeyWhite flowers (Autumn)
Melica ciliata - MelicsMelica ciliata

Melics
Grass, SpikeyWhite flowers (Summer)
Phalaris aruninacea - FeeseyPhalaris aruninacea

Feesey
Grass, Container-friendly, SpikeyNon-flowering


You can use our plant-finder to find plants that match your garden conditions exactly, for example Grasses for dry sandy soils and sunny hot planting locations - click to give it a try!

Have you seen our other plant top ten recommendations?