Ornamental grasses add color, texture, and charm to any landscape! Up the ante by adding ornamental grass to your garden in a stunning and bold hue: red! Here’s a list of 8 red ornamental grasses are sure to brighten any garden.
1. Red Switchgrass
Red switchgrass is a popular grass that grows clusters of steely blue-green leaves in the spring. These leaves first turn red in early summer and are adorned with spiky reddish-pink flowers that appear to hover overhead. In early autumn, its leaves turn shades of dark red or violet. This plant grows in clusters and can be 3 – 5 feet tall. They thrive in full sun and medium to moist, well-drained soil and repel most insects and diseases.
2. Japanese Blood Grass
Japanese blood grass is an unusual ornamental grass that stands out with its beautiful scarlet leaves. Its bright green blades, which can grow to be 12 – 18 inches tall, turn burgundy in the summer and develop silvery-white spikes before going dormant in the winter. It grows best in full or partial sun and thrives in medium moist, well-drained soil. This lovely accent plant adds beauty when added to flowerbeds, borders, rock gardens, or edging. It also looks great as a ground cover or in a planter.
3. Big Bluestem
Big bluestem, or Indian warrior, is a tall grass with green leaves that turn deep purple as early as June. As summer gives way to the fall, the grass develops three-branched spiky flowers that are a vivid red-orange when they bloom. This plant needs at least 6 – 8 hours of direct sunlight each day and grows well in most types of soil.
4. New Zealand Hair Sedge
New Zealand hair sedge is a perennial grass known for its beauty year-round. This plant grows into a thick fountain-like cluster that is 8 – 12 inches tall and 12 – 24 inches wide. Its thin, bronzy-brown foliage forms a low, cascading mound in late summer. Plant it in full sun and moist, rich, well-drained soil for best results. New Zealand hair sedge is low maintenance and drought-resistant. For the most part, it is not prone to plant illness, although aphids may be a problem. It adds color to gardens and flowerbeds, borders, and near ponds or streams. It also looks great in flowerpots where it can add personality and texture to patios or gazebos.
5. Purple Fountain Grass
Purple fountain grass, or red riding hood, creates clumps of leaves that look like water flowing up from a fountain. It grows up to 3 inches tall and produces 4-inch pink to burgundy bottlebrush-like flowers from June until the first freeze.
It self-seeds quickly and can grow as a perennial in warm regions. In contrast, it’s considered an annual grass in colder regions because it dies in the winter. Purple fountain grass grows best in full sun and in moist, well-drained soil.
6. Charlie Boy
Charlie Boy, or cordyline, is a beautiful palm-like shrub with long sword-shaped leaves that are pink or burgundy in color. It also produces clusters of fragrant blooms in the summer. There are several types of cordyline plants, with some reaching heights of up to 8 meters. Despite its exotic appearance, it is hardy; cordyline can survive in temperatures as low as -7°C.
It also does well in wet environments. This plant looks great as part of a garden landscape or in a patio planter. However, when planting it as part of landscaping, give Charlie Boy plenty of space because it has a strong root system and a leaf spread of 250 to 300 cm.
7. Kochia Scoparia Grass
Kochia scoparia grass is also known as fireweed or kochia burning bush. It’s most noticeable in autumn when it turns a flaming red color. This grass is also extremely flammable when it dries. In some environments, its highly-flammable nature is beneficial because it regrows quickly and can stabilize the soil. Kochia scoparia grass actively grows in the spring, and some can grow as tall as 6 feet high. When applying herbicides, do so before the summer when it produces its mature seeds. This grass should also be carefully monitored because it can quickly go from being an attractive ornamental grass to an invasive one.
8. Crimson Fountain Grass
Crimson fountain grass is a perennial grass that grows 3 – 4 feet tall. It has arching purple leaves that can grow up to 2 feet long. This plant produces off-white/pinkish plumes that can grow to be up to a foot long during the summer and fall. This plant grows best in moist, well-drained soil, and should be placed where it can get full sun or partial shade. Crimson fountain grass can be used as a bedding plant, a garden bed backdrop, and landscaping borders. But keep an eye on it – this grass grows quickly and could become invasive if not properly maintained.