Great Plant Picks: Feather reed grass

  • Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:46pm
  • Life

What: This grass, Calamagrostis acutiflora Karl Foerster, features an erect architectural form, slightly tighter than other forms of feather reed grass. In June, flower stalks rise to 6 feet tall with narrow plumes in a feathery, pinkish bronze that change to a golden color as they mature in summer and persist well into winter.

Why plant it: This grass adds structure without being overbearing, is slow spreading and will not seed around the garden. The brown grass in autumn makes a nice backdrop for other fall plants in red, purple and orange. Once established, it only needs occasional watering in dry weather and minimal fertilizing.

Where: Feather reed grass grows best in full sun with well-drained or sandy soil. It will tolerate clay if it is not waterlogged in winter. Cut this grass to the ground in late winter when seed heads look unattractive and before new growth starts.

Size: It grows to about 2 feet tall by 1 foot wide.

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