Festuca gautieri, also known as spiky fescue, is a cold-tolerant plant that originated from northern Europe. With the proper care, this plant is ideal for framing colorful outdoor garden plants and flowers.
Spiky fescue is a flowering perennial plant with beautiful, brilliant green grass-like foliage. It grows to around 20 – 50 cm tall and can be as wide as 1.7 mm. Festuca gautieri creates a rich sea of blue-gray or green around flowerbeds, and it can also enhance the effect of small ponds or garden fountains when planted around them.
Care and Maintenance
Festuca gautieri are low-maintenance perennials that thrive in full sun for 6 – 8 hours each day. Like most plants in its genus, it loves rocky and sandy soil. However, it will grow in almost any type of soil. It’s also incredibly durable – in most cases, spiky fescue can withstand drought and freezes.
For the best result, plant it in the spring or fall when the air is less humid. When planting, be sure to place spiky fescue in soil that’s free of gravel. Also, try to leave 15 – 30 cm between each plant. Once it’s taken root, remove any discolored leaf blades and clear away fallen blades to help your plant live longer.
If you include Festuca gautieri in your landscaping, be sure to water it over the first few weeks to help it root. If it’s in a pot, use a potting soil mixture that drains well and includes pozzolana or coconut fiber. You can also use vermiculite to help the substrate to breathe between regular waterings. Always make sure the substrate dries out between waterings.
Plant the seeds in the autumn or spring using a pot or box that you can put in a cold frame or an exposed nursery during winter. It does not need any further upkeep. After cultivation, water sparingly till summer. It will not require irrigation until it has set up a robust root system.
How to Use Spiky Fescue in Landscapes
Spiky fescue is ideal for placement around vibrant flowers or large, leafy plants. It also looks magnificent as groundcover.
Colorful plants, such as hydrangeas and white echinacea, make great companion plants for spiky fescue. Other good companion plants include:
1. Echinacea ‘Secret Pride’
The fragrant double white blooms of this lovely perennial, which is also called a coneflower, have slightly drooping petals and a large pale yellow center pompom. Coneflowers’ peak blooming time is from mid-summer to the first frost.
2. Calamagrostis x Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
This is one of the most used ornamental grasses. Feather reed grass, as it is also called, is an ornamental grass known for its tall, feathery flower plumes. This grass is fast-growing and adds year-round curb appeal.
3. Kalanchoe Luciae
Kalanchoe luciae, or the Paddle Plant, is an evergreen plant with thick, fleshy, spherical leaves that can grow up to 8 inches long and 6 – 8 inches wide. Its jade leaves resemble clam shells in the bright sunshine and develop wine-red tips when temperatures become colder. This Kalanchoe typically blooms tubular yellow flowers in mid to late winter through early spring.
4. Cerastium Tomemontosum
Cerastium tomemontosum is a low-growing perennial that grows thick silver-gray leaves speckled with star-like white flowers. This plant is often called the “Snow-in-summer” plant because its flowers look like fallen snow. It actively blooms in late spring and early summer and makes an excellent groundcover.