Remember that grasses work best with other hardy perennials, like meadow flowers and prairie plants. And in fall, the colours of certain grasses combine beautifully with late-season perennials such as asters and sedum.

When you’re designing a landscape with ornamental grasses, form and texture are paramount!

Surprise yourself! Grasses are great harmonizers, so put their skills to work between a couple of plants you wouldn’t think would otherwise combine. 

 A few plants to consider

The plants below are all perennials and hardy to zone 4. They boast all-season interest, which means they’re gorgeous in the fall. There are lots more to discover; this is just a teaser!


A very distinctive ornamental grass standing 3-4 feet tall, topped from late summer to winter with 4-foot pinkish-grey flower plumes which turn gold in the fall, then tan as the seeds ripen. Glossy green foliage turns yellow in the fall. Truly stunning plants. Full sun or part shade, plants do well in average to wet soil. Make sure to look ar the Calamagrostis 'Cheju-Do', and the variegated varieties 'Overdam' and 'Eldorado'. Hardy to zone 4.

Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

Majestic with deep green, elegant foliage topped with tall, pinkish-purple feathery plumes. As seed heads mature, they become narrow and bronze-coloured right through the fall. Fast-growing, early-blooming with all-season interest. One of the most popular grasses. Hardy to zone 4.

Deschampsia caespitosa 'Northern Lights'

One of the prettiest cool-season grasses. Creamy-white variegated blades turn pink in the fall. All-season interest. Great in rock gardens and natural-looking landscaping. Hardy to zone 4.

Festuca Glauca 'Elijah Blue'

Elijah Blue is a dwarf ornamental grass and one of the most colourful Blue Fescue varieties. Stunning, finely-textured, silver-blue foliage that maintains its colour through the fall. Upright flower plumes in summer that mature to a light tan. Hardy to zone 3.

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Prairie Blues'

Ontario native! Ornamental bunchgrass with slender blue-green foliage that reaches 3 feet by September. Foliage turns a beautiful mahogany-red in the fall which persists through the winter. Extremely drought-tolerant. Hardy to zone 4.

Miscanthus sinensis

Subtle beauty that makes an ideal backdrop in landscape designs. Gorgeous feather-like seed heads rise above arching silvery-green foliage. Plants must be contained (spreading variety). Managed well, they are spectacular. Hardy to zone 4.

Bouteloua gracilis

A native North American prairie grass, and that is something to celebrate! Plants are relatively short, with delicate foliage and blue-green seed heads (“eyelash flowers”) suspended horizontally from every stem, summer and fall. Foliage turns tan in the fall. Plants provide food and shelter to wildlife. Very drought and disease resistant. Hardy to zone 3.

Sporobolus heterolepis

Fine-textured ornamental grass that is extremely drought and disease-resistant. Narrow, arching leaves grow about 18 inches tall – rich green in summer to golden with orange hues in the fall, and light bronze in the winter. Foliage resists flattening by the snow, so Prairie Dropseed truly has year-round interest. Tiny flower heads emerge mid-summer. Hardy to zone 4.

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