Garden Basics

Are Ornamental Grasses Evergreen?

Ornamental grasses are a great way to add some variety to your garden. Their unique shapes and sizes can add textures, colors, and uniqueness to your garden already filled with flowering plants and trees. But are ornamental grasses evergreen? Well...

Some ornamental grasses are evergreen, but not all of them. This means that some will stay green all year round, while some will change color depending on the season. Let's look at some examples of evergreen ornamental grass and why they stay evergreen.

Why Are Some Ornamental Grasses Evergreen?

evergreen-grasses

To answer this question, it will be important to understand why plants are green at all. Every green part of a plant, such as the leaves and sometimes the stems, contain a chemical called chlorophyll that helps turn sunlight energy into usable energy for the plant.

Chlorophyll gives plants their green color. However, some plants have other pigmentation that can override the green from the chlorophyll. Blue Oat Grass is one plant that has a silvery blue appearance and will stay the same color if not subjected to extreme temperatures.

The term 'evergreen' does not just mean plants that stay green all year. The term can be used for any plant that retains the same color year-round.

Why Are Some Ornamental Grasses NOT Evergreen?

feather-reed-grass

Although all plants need photosynthesis in order to grow, some plants lose their green coloring depending on the season. Some grasses go dormant during the winter, which means they do not grow. Some ornamental grasses will change color in winter.

Ornamental grasses like Feather Reed Grass will appear to be a different color in spring because it has developed seed pods that shoot up. These seedpods are a reddish color that then turns golden in the fall.

How To Keep Your Ornamental Grass Evergreen

To keep your ornamental grass evergreen, you need to make sure it is healthy. If the plant gets too hot or too cold, it will become damaged and go into survival mode. This means that the leaves may die, and the plant might change color.

If your plant is essential to your garden's color scheme, then making sure it is the correct temperature is essential. Most ornamental plants are from temperate climates and will not appreciate very hot or very cold temperatures.

Likewise, making sure your ornamental grass has enough water is crucial. They need a moist and well-draining soil. If a plant gets too wet, its roots will start to rot, and you will see a change in color as the leaves and stems start to die. If it gets too dry, its leaves will turn brown.

Some Examples Of Evergreen Ornamental Grass

Acorus Ogon

grasses-evergreen

This ornamental grass has long and narrow leaves that are light green and almost yellow. It is great in damp and shady spots and will flower given the right conditions. It is known as semi-evergreen, meaning it will change only if subjected to extreme temperatures.

This ornamental grass has long and narrow leaves that are light green and almost yellow.

It is great in damp and shady spots and will flower given the right conditions. It is known as semi-evergreen, meaning it will change only if subjected to extreme temperatures.

Carex

carex-evergreen

This adaptable ornamental grass is dark green and grows in clumps that look like a head of hair coming out of the ground. This grass can tolerate drier conditions.

Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus)

dwarf-mondo-grass

Dwarf Mondo Grass makes a great ground cover between stepping stones as it is hardy enough to walk on in low traffic areas.  It has strappy leaves and has a clumping habit.  Very easy to divide.  It grows fast, and when first planting, space them well apart, and once they fully cover the area, divide and share amongst other areas.

Black Mondo looks stunning in some settings.

Lifiope Muscari (Lily Turf)

Liriope gives a splash of color in summer with purple spikes.  Propagate in spring by division.

Tulbaghia violacea (Society Garlic)

tulbaghia-society-garlic

Tulbaghia is a grasslike perennial from Africa with lavender flowers in spring.  It has a strong garlic scent when crushed.

ornamental-grass

Takeaways

When choosing an ornamental grass, research whether it is evergreen or not. Some plants will change color, and possibly even shape, during different times of the year.

If you want your garden to look the same year-round, then ornamental grasses can be a good addition.

By framing sections of your garden with evergreen ornamental grass, you will maintain the same borders year-round.

Just remember to care for them, whatever their specific needs are.

Ornamental grasses are an ideal plant for beginner gardeners as they are easy to grow and very rewarding.

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