Ornamental grasses can provide graceful beauty to your landscape. Seed heads, in addition to the foliage, provide added interest. And, there is a wide variety to choose from to accent a large yard, or a small flowerbed.

Produced by K-State Reseach and Extension Department of Communications. For more information, visit our website at: http://www.kansasgreenyards.org

Ornamental Grasses Have Interesting Seed Heads

Grasses are typically chosen for their foliage, obviously. But another consideration might be their seed heads. There are many different types of seed heads. And grasses bloom at different times of the season, depending on whether they’re cool season or warm season grasses.

A very popular grass in this area is the Miscanthus Sinensis. This one in front of me is “Little Kitten.” It’s one of the shorter ones, but they all have very similar flower forms. This one is great for it’s open, feathery seed heads. They bloom in August, so it’s a late season bonus, when you plant your ornamental grass.

This next one is switch grass, Panicum Virgatum, or “Cloud Nine”. As you can see, it’s a very tall cultivar of switch grass, and will become about eight feet tall. It’s a very interesting seed head. It’s very open, light, and airy. As the breeze is blowing it, it has a nice kinetic motion in the wind. Many florists use the seed heads of switch grass to add interest to flower arrangements. So, it’s a nice grass to add to your landscape.
And, next is a Pennisetum, that aptly named “Black-Flowered Fountain Grass”. It has nice, dark purple seed heads that appear in July. These seed heads are great because it just makes you want to touch them. They’re soft and fuzzy, and kids love them. It adds a real interesting look to an otherwise green plant, to have these nice, spiky, fuzzy, seed heads.

This feature story prepared with Robin Dremsa, Kansas State University Research and Extension Center at Olathe. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

Horticulture Newsletter

KSU Horticulture Newsletter

Get more information from our weekly newsletter.

Find Your Local Office

Have questions or need help?

Local Extension Office Map

Click the map to find your Local Extension Office.

YouTube Videos

YouTube Videos

Watch K-State Research and Extension Videos.

Kansas Healthy Yards Tagline