10 Best Ornamental Grasses for Zone 7

Ornamental grasses can transform your garden, adding movement, color, and texture to your landscape.

If you live in Zone 7, known for its moderate climate with hot summers and cold winters, you're in luck!

There is an array of beautiful and resilient ornamental grasses that thrive in this area.

In this article, we'll introduce you to some of the best ornamental grasses for your Zone 7 home and garden.

From providing stunning focal points to softening hardscapes, these plants can enhance your landscape in multiple ways!

Types of Ornamental Grasses for Zone 7

Ornamental grasses come in a variety of sizes, colors, and growth habits, making them incredibly versatile in their usage to your landscape.

The following list provides a glimpse into some of the most popular ornamental grasses suitable for Zone 7, characterized by their unique traits and adaptability to different garden conditions.

1. Feather Reed Grass

Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) is a popular choice for its upright growth habit and showy seed heads.

Feather Reed Grass photographed in the garden

This perennial grass can grow up to 4 feet tall and is well-suited for most soils, making it easy to care for.

It thrives in full sun and can tolerate some drought, so it's perfect for a low-maintenance garden.

Feather reed grass provides year-round interest with its winter foliage and summer plumes.

2. Blue Oat Grass

Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) is a drought-tolerant plant with striking blue-green foliage that adds texture to your garden.

Blue Oat grass planted near the garden

Growing up to 3 feet tall, this grass prefers well-draining soil, full sun, and can handle both heat and cold.

It's an attractive option if you're seeking to add some color contrast to your landscape.

3. Fountain Grass

Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) is a popular perennial that forms attractive, arching clumps in your garden.

Fountain Grass planted near the road

With a height ranging from 2 to 4 feet depending on the variety, this grass has showy, bottlebrush-like plumes that appear in the summer and persist through the fall.

Fountain grass thrives in full sun and is drought-tolerant once established.

4. Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) is a shade-loving ornamental grass that can add a touch of elegance to any garden.

Japanese Forest Grass placed in the garden

Growing up to 2 feet tall, this grass requires well-draining soil and prefers partial to full shade.

Its cascading foliage creates a stunning effect when planted in a rock garden or container.

5. Maiden Grass/Zebra Grass

Maiden grass/zebra grass (Miscanthus sinensis), comes in a variety of cultivars with different heights, colors, and patterns.

Miscanthus Sinensis planted near the border

This versatile grass can grow up to 7 feet tall and features stunning plumes in the late summer and fall.

It prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Note that some cultivars can be invasive, so choose wisely.

6. Blue Fescue

Blue fescue (Festuca glauca) is a low-growing, fine-textured grass with striking blue-grey foliage.

Festuca glauca planted at the garden

Slow-growing and ideal as a ground cover or border plant, it thrives in full sun and well-draining soil.

This grass can add interesting texture to your landscape, but it's not suited to overly moist conditions.

7. Little Bluestem

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is a native grass that's well-adapted to Zone 7, growing up to 3 feet tall.

A lone Little Bluestem

Drought-tolerant and heat-resistant, this grass is perfect for prairie-style gardens, providing winter interest in addition to its colorful autumn foliage.

It prefers full sun and well-draining soil.

8. Mexican Feather Grass

Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima) is a fine-textured, flowing grass that can tolerate drought and thrive in various soil types.

Gorgeous Mexican Feather Grass at the garden

This grass is perfect for adding movement to your garden, as its delicate seed heads sway with the slightest breeze.

While beautiful, be aware that this grass can self-seed aggressively and may become invasive in certain areas.

9. Switchgrass

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a native North American prairie grass that's well-suited for sunny gardens in Zone 7.

Switchgrass old and withered

Growing up to 6 feet tall, this grass is prized for its upright form, impressive foliage, and beautiful fall color.

It's a great option for a low-maintenance, wildlife-friendly landscape.

10. Pampas Grass

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is a showy ornamental grass with large feathery plumes that can reach heights of up to 10 feet.

Pampas grass planted at a field

While it prefers full sun, it can tolerate some shade and a variety of soil types.

Note that pampas grass can be invasive, so select sterile cultivars when possible and monitor their growth.

Incorporating Ornamental Grasses in the Landscape

Ornamental grasses contribute to the overall aesthetics and functionality of a well-designed landscape.

Their versatility allows them to be used in various applications.

This guide provides an in-depth exploration of how to effectively incorporate these versatile plants into your landscape.

Borders and Ground Covers

For an attractive border or ground cover, consider using fountain grass or hair grass.

Fountain grass used for border

These shorter species are ideal for edging pathways or filling in spaces between rocks and other plants.

They can also help to reduce weeds and add a soft, natural touch to your garden.

To create a cohesive look, plant ornamental grasses alongside ferns, ground covers, and other low-growing plants.

Privacy Screens and Focal Points

Taller grasses, such as switch grass or bamboo, can be used to create impressive privacy screens or focal points in your landscape.

A small bamboo patch at a garden

Their height and denseness make them an excellent choice for masking unsightly views or providing a natural barrier between different areas of the garden.

When selecting grasses for privacy screens, consider the eventual height and spread, as well as the seasons during which they'll be at their most visually appealing.

Container Gardens and Rock Gardens

Ornamental grasses are an excellent addition to container gardens and rock gardens.

Ornamental grasses

They can add height, texture, and year-round interest in both settings.

Choose varieties with compact growth habits and colorful foliage, such as purple fountain grass or blue fescue, to enhance the overall design.

Be sure to select appropriate containers with proper drainage to ensure your grasses remain healthy.

Attracting Wildlife

Incorporating ornamental grasses into your garden can make it more inviting to birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.

Bird resting on the fountain grass

Taller grasses provide shelter and nesting opportunities for birds, while the seeds produced by many grass species serve as a food source.

To create a wildlife-friendly garden, consider planting a mix of grasses that offer a range of heights, colors, and bloom times.

Companion Plants

Ornamental grasses pair well with several other types of plants.

Close up of the ornamental grass pennisetum alopecuroides or chinese fountain grass

They can be used to soften the edges of hardscaping, complement bold foliage, and bring out the colors in flowering plants.

Harmonizing Your Zone 7 Garden with Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses provide an adaptable and attractive solution to various landscaping needs.

Whether it's creating textured borders, natural privacy screens, adding character to container gardens, or attracting wildlife, these plants offer a multitude of options.

The selection of grasses, from the towering pampas grass to the shade-loving Japanese forest grass, brings unique traits that enhance the overall aesthetics of your garden in Zone 7.

Remember to consider their individual care needs and growth patterns, ensuring these plants thrive and adorn your landscape throughout the year.

In short, incorporating ornamental grasses into your Zone 7 garden not only elevates its visual appeal but also promotes biodiversity and sustainability.

By choosing these grasses, you're investing in a vibrant garden that will flourish for seasons to come.

Explore our articles below for more perfect grass for your outdoor oasis!

Best Ornamental Grasses That Grow In Shade

Ornamental Grasses For Full Sun In Pots [15 Ideas For Your Landscaping]

10 Best Ornamental Grasses for Zone 7

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