Ornamental, Native Grasses
of North America



Native Grasses are some of my favorite plants to grow in my gardens.

They are a favorite topic to discuss as well.

A lot of work and research went into these pages because I want you to be informed about our natural grasses and other plant life.

I'm very exited to get this web page to you.

Through my research, I haven't found a site that offers as much on native grasses as this site will.

There are hundreds of home grown grasses, but not all have ornamental value for gardens.

Yet, the grasses offer and have offered food and protection for birds and bison.

North American Indians used the plants to weave baskets, huts and more while they ground the seeds to make flour and other food items.

Say that about introduced species.

But many of our grasses can be very attractive, tolerant to what nature can throw at them and once established they are drought tolerant and can grow in most sunny locations.

Yes, some grasses will do well in partial shade and there are sedges for moist shady spots.

Sorghastrum nutens

But the grasses for ornamental purposes are the sunny grasses.

Even many of our local grasses are very attractive.

You may know them as prairie grass or some other local name.

These grasses can grow in excess of eight feet to as short as a few inches.

If you are reading this, you have an interest in grasses and native habitats.

Grasses will enhance your yard and garden, and also add food and shelter for birds and small mammals.

Grasses, even ornamental grasses thrive in a range of climatic and cultural conditions. Properly selected and used, grasses can contribute more beauty and interest with less work than almost any other group of garden plants.

It is a shame that many of our grasses are endangered species and who know what has been lost to habitat destruction.

The following pages will help you pick out native grasses for your location as well as techniques, recommendations to help you get the most from the grasses you grow in your gardens and landscapes.

No matter where you live, there is a grass for you.

Before you get started, there are several things you need to know about native grasses.

Is it a warm or cool weather grass?

Is it clump forming? or spread by rhizomes?

How do you plant your grasses?

What about diseases and pests?

Water and feeding.

Sun or shade.

After you are done reading these pages you should be prepared to make the right choice.




While these grasses are becoming more popular, you may have to hunt to find certain species.

Many native grasses are still difficult to find. You may have to contact local nature centers, garden clubs, Department of Natural Resources for your state or province.

When reading these pages and doing your research, remember that many regions cross boundaries and many states and provinces have more than one region.

For example, the Canadian province of Alberta covers the Great Plains and the Mountains and Basins, as does the states of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.

Still some states and British Columbia cover the mountains and Basins along with the Pacific and Northwest.

California covers the Desert and Southwest, Mountains and The Pacific Coast.

Texas wins the prize for covering four regions.

Texas covers the Southeast, Prairies, Desert and Southwest and a small portion of West Texas near the Pecos fits into the Mountains where it crosses over to Desert.

The following pages will give you what I feel are the most ornamental grasses for your region.

With each grass is a brief description of the plant and you can take it from there.

Remember, virtually all of our grasses provide something for wildlife.

One Last Thought:

Research shows that native insects rarely eat nonnative plants. They don't have the enzymes required to digest the leaves of many exotics.

When out-of-control foreign grasses obliterate our natural plants and grasslands, insects and wildlife lose their food sources and their numbers drop.

Since many birds feed on insects and feed insects or insect larvae to their young, .............when insects decline, so do the birds.

Return to the top of Native Grasses

Grasses of the Northeast and Great Lakes

Grasses of the Southeast

Grasses of the Prairies and Great Plains

Grasses of the Mountains and Basins

Grasses of the Deserts and Southwest

Grasses of the Pacific and Northwest


The following pages offer tips and ideas on location and care for your natives.

Planting New

Transplanting and Dividing

Water Needs

What Type of Soil

Fertilizing and Feeding

Cutting and Burning


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