Deschampsia Cespitosa: Tufted Hair Grass Information and Care

Deschampsia Cespitosa, or Tufted Hair grass, is a cool-season perennial grass. Why consider it and how do you take care of it?

Deschampsia cespitosa is a clump-forming perennial grass with a well-developed root structure. The tufted foliage is slender and fine-textured, and it is often evergreen. Purple-green florets with hair-like awns appear in the summer.

Continue reading if you consider growing this cool-season grass.

General Information

As the common name suggests, tufted hair grass grows in a tufted pile of thin blades. It’s a cool-season native grass that grows semi-evergreen and thrives in mild winters. It develops tall stalks with an abundance of airy, light-green inflorescences in the early summer.

This grass can reach a height of 2 to -4 feet and a width of 1 to 2 feet.

It is found in both North America and Eurasia. This species’ native habitats include moist mountain meadows, floodplain woods, marshy grasslands, and pond and stream borders.

Deschampsia cespitosa is commonly found in waterlogged fields or along roadsides in the eastern United States. It can be found in a variety of mountainous locations throughout the western United States, and it is usually the dominant species in alpine meadows.

Tall green hairgrass growing freely in the backyard

Care and Maintenance

USDA Zones 2 through 8 are suitable for growing this grass. In the northern United States, it will bloom more regularly, while in the Southeast, it will have few or no blooms at all. 

While the plant thrives in sunny locations, where it will produce the most flowers, Deschampsia cespitosa can tolerate shaded or partially sunny, moist, or wet areas. On top of that, the grass grows in a wide range of soil types, including soils with an alkaline pH or moderate salinity. 

Old leaves and seed stalks should be pruned down to the ground to make space for new growth in late winter. If self-seeding is not desired, deadhead the grass in the fall to remove seed pods.

How to Use It in Landscapes

Deschampsia cespitosa has lovely flower panicles that make it an excellent choice for a shade garden accent, cluster, or bulk. The plants provide showy blossoms as well as winter charm. Tufted hair grass thrives in meadow gardens, perennial borders, rain gardens, rock gardens, and wildlife gardens.

If planted in large clusters, it can serve as an effective ground cover.

Beautifully landscaped plants and grasses alongside the walkway

Companion Plants

Pair Deschampsia cespitosa with any of the following plants.

Carex Radiatha

Carex radiata, also known as straight-styled wood sedge or eastern star sedge, is an evergreen perennial that grows to 8 to 12 inches tall, with a thick leaf cluster of thin, grass-like, medium green blades.

Chasmanthium latifolium

This clump-forming perennial grass produces large, drooping, oat-like flower spikelets from slender, arching stems. The blue-green, bamboo-like leaves turn a gorgeous yellow-gold color in the autumn, especially in sunny locations. Because it is low maintenance, it is a popular shade grass.

Healthy and green leaves of a chasmanthium plant

Rudbeckia lacinata

The Green-Head Coneflower is an herbaceous perennial with a tall and lanky appearance that can grow 3 to 10 feet tall. However, it may only reach half that height when fully mature. Butterflies are drawn to the nectar of the blossoms, while songbirds, particularly American Goldfinches, feast on the seed in the autumn.

Eupatorium colestinum

This herbaceous perennial, commonly known as mistflower, blooms from late summer to fall and is native to the Eastern United States. It’s a lovely native plant that grows along roadside ditch banks and is regarded as a weed on the coastal plain. It is an attractive perennial in cultivation, with 8 weeks of blue blooms from late summer until frost. It has a lot of nectar, and pollinators love it.

closeup picture of a purple mistflower
Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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