Front of the Border Grasses

Front of the Border Grasses

Ornamental grasses add seasons of beauty and interest to a garden. Many times as designers we use grasses to soften a walkway’s harsh edge or to add movement and give the garden a natural look that is very refreshing to the senses. One of my favorite grasses is Sporobolus heterolepis, otherwise known as prairie dropseed. This is a warm season grass, which means that it is slower to break dormancy in spring, has a higher drought tolerance, and tends to flower in later summer and fall.

Prairie dropseed is a shorter mounding grass, only reaching a height of about 2-2 ½ ‘tall. It prefers full sun and can handle dry soil and being planted right up close to its neighbor. Prairie dropseed is perfect for a dramatic mass planting, especially noticeable once the round, bread-like seed heads ripen and wave in the wind, creating a sea of soft color in the landscape. This beauty mixes well as the front of a border along a walkway with Echinacea purpurea and Liatris spicata adding height, drama, and color behind. If you’re looking to add a short front-of-the-border texture plant, consider massing this natural beauty.

By BLC Landscape Sales and Design
Hockenberry Meyer, Mary. Ornamental Grasses for Cold Climates. University of Minnesota. 2004

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