Decorative grass, also called ornamental grass, refers to a type of grass that adds a cosmetic benefit to a landscape. Such plants tend to be tall-growing, may grow in clumps or bunches and are generally fairly low-maintenance, hardy types of plants. Decorative grass seeds can be planted outdoors in either spring or fall. Planting the seeds in the spring is preferable because it gives the new plants more time to establish a root system before they experience their first winter. Fall planting is acceptable but is less reliable in terms of successful plant establishment for the first year.
Prepare your outdoor space for the decorative grass by deep-tilling an area with good drainage.
Add about a pound of general-use fertilizer per 100 square feet of soil when you till. Decorative grass doesn’t need much fertilizer so you won’t need to fertilize again until next year, preferably during early spring growth.
Sprinkle decorative grass seeds over the tilled ground and cover with a thin layer of soil. Determine seed spacing according to the directions on your specific decorative grass product.
Water the planted seeds and keep them uniformly moist to help them get established.
Cover the seeds with a layer of straw or mulch to protect them over the winter if you plant your seeds in the fall.
Warning: Dry decorative grass is flammable, so don’t plant it near a house or building where it could be a fire hazard during the dry season. Cut the dry foliage down during the winter.
How to Plant Ornamental Grasses
University of Illinois Extension
The Drought – Ornamental Grass Garden at the Montgomery County Learning Gardens
Montgomery County Cooperative Extension
University of Rhode Island