Ornamental Grass Named Perennial of the Year for 2001 - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

Ornamental Grass Named Perennial of the Year for 2001

The Perennial Plant Association has selected Feather Reed Grass, cultivar Karl Foerster, as the 2001 Perennial Plant of the Year. Feather reed grass is an outstanding plant for the garden and landscape as a specimen plant or in mass plantings. Karl Foerster, in particular, is quite versatile given its compact habit.

Known botanically as Calamagrostis x acutiflora, the species feather reed grass grows 4-5 feet tall with feathery plumes appearing in early summer. The cultivar Karl Foerster is just a bit smaller at 2-3 feet, but its majestic plumes tower up to 5 feet. Though they start out as a pale pink, the flowers dry to a golden tan reminiscent of fields of dry grain. Karl Foerster also blooms a couple of weeks earlier than the species, lending a graceful appearance to the garden from June through winter.

Feather reed grass is a hardy perennial that is about as low maintenance as a plant can be. It does well in full sun to partial shade and thrives in well-drained soil with plenty of moisture. However, it can adapt to a wide range of soil types, including some of the heavier soils found in many Indiana home gardens.

In late winter or early spring, cut the stems down to about 6 inches to provide space for the new season’s growth. A bit of light fertilization will help keep the plants thriving. Feather reed grass is easily propagated by division in either fall or spring.

 


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