Is there a more dramatic group of plants in the late season garden than ornamental grasses?

The way they’re back lit and glowing in the late summer sun. Their graceful sway and hypnotic movement displays even the slightest of breezes. And their sheer scale and height at this time of year as they show in all off their full-grown stature. You can’t take your eyes off a stand of them–they’re just mesmerizing!

The terms cool-season and warm-season ornamental grasses simply refer to when they bloom. Cool-season grasses start growing early in spring and often have their most vibrant color during those months. Warm-season types emerge more slowly in spring, flower later in the summer and often remain in bloom well into fall. Both types have a place in any garden when planning for a long, colorful season!

Here we’ve chosen a few warm season grasses which can handle heat, humidity, and drought and bloom well into fall.



Plumetastic® Pink Muhly Grass

  • Glittering clouds of vivid purple plumes lend rich color from late summer to fall.
  • 3′ tall and wide; blooms to 4′ tall
  • Partial to full sun
  • Zone: 7 – 10
  • Design: Add to ornamental or native landscapes as a singular sensation or massed.

Northwind Switch Grass

  • Compact, clumping grass with olive-to-golden yellow autumn foliage and showy seed heads that lend winter interest.
  • 6′ tall, 3′ wide
  • Partial to full sun
  • Zone: 4 – 9
  • Design: Excellent vertical form for mixed beds and erosion control on slopes.

Morning Light Maiden Grass

  • Dense clumps of slender blades with creamy white margins creates a shimmering silvery appearance.
  • 5′ tall, 4′ wide; plumes to 6′
  • Partial to full sun
  • Zone: 5 – 9
  • Design: Use height and width to contrast low borders or walls.

Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass

  • Rugged native with flag-like, golden summer flowers on stiff, weather-resistant stems.
  • Up to 3′ tall and wide.
  • Partial to full sun.
  • Zone: 4 – 9
  • Design: Adds texture to waterwise gardens.

Good Companions to Ornamental Grasses:

Petite Plum® Dwarf Butterfly Bush

  • Add to a stand of tall grasses in a corner of the yard or along a fence line for a stellar pollinator-luring, late summer show.
  • 5′ tall and wide
  • Partial to full sun
  • Zone: 5 – 9

Flower Carpet® Amber Groundcover Rose

  • Use in front of taller grasses or combine in very large containers.
  • 2.5′ tall, 3′ wide
  • Full sun
  • Zone: 4 – 10

Royal Purple Smoke Tree

  • Got space? Picture tall, slender blades against reddish-purple foliage and airy smoke puffs.
  • Island bed or at the corner of a house.
  • 15′ tall, 12′ wide.
  • Full sun
  • Zone: 4 – 8

Evolution™ EMBERS™ Fever Coneflower

  • Enchanting tumbled up with grasses in mixed borders, containers, and cutting gardens.
  • Up to 20″ tall and wide
  • Full sun
  • Zone: 4 – 9

However they are utilized in the garden, Ornamental Grasses are an often-overlooked way to spice up the landscape! If you have questions about any of the Ornamental Grasses or companion plants listed in this article, reach out to the closest Southbranch Nursery location and we’ll be happy to assist!