Great Plant Pick: Karl Foerster feather reed grass

  • Wednesday, November 22, 2023 1:30am
  • Life
Feather reed grass grows best in full sun with well-drained or sandy soil. (Richie Steffen)

Feather reed grass grows best in full sun with well-drained or sandy soil. (Richie Steffen)

What: Karl Foerster feather reed grass, also known as Calamagrostis acutiflora Karl Foerster, is valued for its early bloom time and its erect, architectural form, slightly tighter than other forms of feather reed grass. The 2-foot-tall foliage adds structure without being overbearing. In June, flower stalks rise from 5 to 6 feet tall with narrow plumes of feathery, pinkish-bronze inflorescences that change to a golden color as they mature in summer and persist well into winter. It is slow spreading and will not seed around the garden.

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.

Size: Two feet high by 1 foot wide in 10 years.

Care: Once established, only occasional watering is needed during dry weather. Keep fertilizing to a minimum to prevent flopping seed heads. Cut this grass to the ground in late winter when seed heads look unattractive and before new growth starts.

— greatplantpicks.org

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