Ornamental grasses tolerate a wide range of conditions, but most like a sunny position in light, moist but well-drained, moderately fertile soil.
They do not need much feeding; this can encourage lush foliage at the expense of flowers. One application of a balanced fertiliser in spring is adequate.
It is important to plant grasses at the correct time.
- Grasses from cool climates such as Deschampsia, Festuca, Helictotrichon and Stipa come into growth in late winter and flower before mid-summer and so should be planted in autumn for the best establishment
- Grasses from warm climates such as Miscanthus, Panicum, Pennisetum and Spartina come into growth in late spring, flower after mid-summer and are usually cut back in late winter. They are best planted in late spring
Grasses are good plants for containers. Use loam-based compost such as John Innes No 2 with 20 percent loam-free compost to lighten the mix. Evergreen grasses such as Carex combine well with winter bedding to give height and a contrast in texture.