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Ornamental Grasses Add Color and Movement to Texas Landscapes

Ornamental grasses grow well in Texas landscapes. Neither aggressive nor high maintenance, placing clumps of ornamental grass with native plants make landscapes interesting and attractive. Ornamental grasses are perennials with colorful blades and blooms that move enticingly in the wind. These plants have few disease or pest problems and require little fertilization, soil preparation, or supplemental water.

Most ornamental grasses prefer full sun although many tolerate filtered sun or partial shade for some of the day. Amend the soil with organic matter before planting and plan to cut them back close to the ground during their winter dormancy. Use care with some ornamental grasses whose blades are razor sharp and require thick gloves when handling.

Fountain Grass

Hardy in zones 7 to 9, fountain grass has green or yellow-green blades. Bloom spikes in cream or rose colors occur in summer through fall. Fountain grass grows to 3 feet tall with a 2-foot spread. Plant fountain grass in early spring and fertilize with general-purpose lawn fertilizer two weeks after planting and once more in the middle of the summer. Low growing flowers such as black-eyed Susans, coreopsis, or colorful annuals.

Blood Grass

Also called Japanese blood grass, this perennial prefers afternoon shade or filtered afternoon sun and a location that does not dry out in the worst of Texas’s summer heat. The red-tipped blades provide the plant’s name and it works well planted in groupings or three to five plants. Although the blood grass does not have flowers, the brightly colored blades complement the landscape. Plant in spring. Do not add fertilizer unless the soil is depleted of nitrogen. Then, use slow-release fertilizer sparingly. Cut back this perennial in early spring to promote a new season’s growth.


Use liriope as a border grass for landscaped beds or pathways. Hardy throughout Texas, liriope has few enemies, although grasshoppers may stop by occasionally in the summer. Plants grow 8 to 12 inches tall with lavender, purple or white flowers in summer. Liriope spreads slowly. So, for continuous coverage, place liriope plants in the spring about 12 to 18 inches apart. Keep soil moist, but not soaking. This border grass tolerates partial or even full shade. Prune lightly in the early spring to remove any dead growth and fertilize lightly several times during the active growing season. (By searching landscaping near me you can find the best landscaping companies in your area.)

Pampas Grass

This tall perennial can be a landscape focal point. Planted in straight lines, it can be a visual break or provide a property boundary. Growing as tall as 8 to 10 feet, pampas grass has showy white or pink feathery flowers in late summer. Plant in spring and water occasionally to keep the plant from drying out completely. Lightly fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer. Prune dead growth in early spring. Use care around this plant, because the sharp blade easily cut skin.

Most garden centers and local nurseries stock a variety of landscape grasses for Texas. Propagate through division in early spring.