7 Ornamental Grasses That Grow in Full Sun

Ornamental grass is both easy to grow and simple to manage. Which ones are good for areas of full sun?

Do you want to decorate a sunny spot in your backyard or garden with an ornamental grass? If so, this list of decorative grasses will come in handy. All of the grasses listed here thrive in full sun.

Full Sun Tolerance

Different living conditions and light exposure are required for ornamental grasses. Many sedges and tufted hairgrass, for example, prefer partial shade, whereas June grass and Northern sea oats prefer full shade.

However, there are a few types of grass that flourish in full sun. You must first decide what type of growing habit you are looking for to find the one that is best suited to your environment. Some grasses grow in clusters, while others spread out. Clumping grasses form little mounds, but spreading grasses are higher and have a greater “wow” factor.

Most ornamental grasses are perennials that become dormant in the fall and winter. Some form intricate rhizomatous systems, while others are bunch or tussock grasses.

Ornamental grasses can grow as short as 1 inch (3 cm) or as tall as 65 feet (20 meters).

Before proceeding to our list below, be sure you know what to expect and what you desire.

Soft pampas grass growing abundantly in the forest

7 Types of Grass to Consider That Thrive in Full Sun

1. Carex

USDA Zone: 8 to 9

Carex is a genus of around 1,500 perennial plants with grass-like stems and panicles of flowerheads on short spikes. The vast majority of this species live in moist habitats such as bogs or damp forests.

It features grass-like, dazzling leaves that are frequently variegated or multicolored. A suitable Carex species can be found for almost any garden setting.

Lilis green grass with white outlien

2. Fescue

USDA Zone: 1 to 8a

Fescue grasses are cool-season grasses that are mostly grown in the United States and Canada. Fescues are well-known for their drought tolerance, making them a desirable grass species for various environmental settings.

Fescue grasses also have the potential to remain green all year, which contributes to their appeal as a turfgrass species.

green fetusca plant in the garden

3. Indian Grass

USDA Zone: 4a to 9b

Yellow Indian grass is a 3-to 8-foot-tall plant with wide blue-green blades and a plume-like, silky, golden-brown seed head. This lovely perennial’s autumn hue ranges from rich orange to purple.

This is a gorgeous grass with a gleaming golden sheen in its blooms. It’s a warm-season grass with beautiful gold and purple flowers and seed sprays in the fall.

Different varieties of grass growing beautifully in the forest

4. Switchgrass

USDA Zone: 3 to 10

Switchgrass is native to the entire United States, except for California and the Pacific Northwest. It’s a perennial bunch grass that grows 3 to 5 feet tall and has short, thick rhizomes that spread. The stem is round and might be red or straw in color. The seed head is formed by an open, spreading panicle.

Switchgrass prefers sandy to clay loam soils that are slightly deep to deep and fairly dry to poorly drained. The grass does not tolerate dense soils very well.

Switchgrass grows naturally in grasslands, open oak and pine woods, beaches, riverbanks, and high brackish marshes near coastal forest ecotones.

Virgatum thin and tall grass

5. Pampas

USDA Zone: 7 to 11

Pampas grass is a tall perennial grass found in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. When fully developed, plants can reach heights of 10 feet and widths of 6 feet. In late summer, silvery-white plumes fly several feet above the foliage, producing a remarkable, dramatic statement in the surroundings.

Several pampas grass varieties are now available in the nursery trade. They can come with pinkish-white plumes, variegated foliage, or a dwarf growth form.

tall pampas grass against a blue sky background

6. Tall Maiden Grass

USDA Zone: 5 to 9

Tall maiden grass is a lovely broad grass with curled seed heads. The gorgeous leaves turn green or golden at the end of the summer.

It looks lovely as a border plant or against areas of green groundcover and shorn grass. It’s ideal for natural gardens and dry streambeds, where it blends in wonderfully with the delicate tones of warm-colored stone.

Enjoy watching the huge tufts wave and dance in the autumn air.

Japanese golden grass in a vacant lot

7. Ravenna Grass

USDA Zone: 6 to 9

Ravenna grass is a tall, perennial grass with basal leaf clumps. Flowering stems can grow up to 13 feet (4 m) tall. Leaves can be visible on stems all the way to the base of the inflorescence. The stalks may turn scarlet or other colors as the blooms mature. Near the stem terminals, slender, silvery inflorescences can be seen.

Tall ravenna grass growing in the forest
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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