Exploring Ornamental Grasses for Colorado Gardens

Ornamental grasses offer a beautiful and low-maintenance option for adding texture, movement, and color to our gardens. Here are five of our favorites and why we love them for Colorado gardens.

Karl Foerster Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’)

A timeless favorite among gardeners for its elegant, upright growth habit and feathery plumes that sway gracefully in the breeze. This cool-season grass is well-suited to Colorado’s climate, thriving in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Its drought tolerance and low-maintenance requirements make it an excellent choice for busy gardeners. Karl Foerster Grass adds vertical interest to garden beds, provides winter interest with its golden-hued foliage, and serves as a lovely backdrop for flowering perennials. Its adaptability to various soil types and its resistance to pests and diseases further enhance its appeal for Colorado landscapes.

Elijah Blue Fescue
(Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’)

Prized for its striking blue foliage, Elijah Blue adds a cool, soothing contrast to warmer-hued plants in the garden. This compact, clump-forming grass is well-suited to Colorado’s high-altitude gardens, where it thrives in full sun and well-drained, sandy soils. Its drought tolerance and deer resistance make it a practical choice for low-maintenance landscapes. Elijah Blue Fescue is ideal for edging pathways, rock gardens, or containers, where its unique coloration can be appreciated up close. Colorado gardeners seeking a pop of color and texture will find Elijah Blue Fescue to be a valuable addition to their gardens.

Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima)

Graceful and ethereal, this delicate grass captivates with its feather-like foliage and airy swaying movement in the breeze. This warm-season grass thrives in Colorado’s sunny, dry conditions and is well-adapted to poor, rocky soils. Its fine texture and graceful form make it a versatile addition to both formal and informal garden settings. Mexican Feather Grass pairs beautifully with drought-tolerant perennials and succulents, creating a naturalistic, drought-tolerant landscape.

Standing Ovation
Little Blue Stem Grass

Schizachyrium scoparium

This popular selection celebrates the beauty of native grasses with its slender, upright stems and striking blue-green foliage that turns shades of bronze, purple, and red in the fall. This warm-season grass is well-suited to Colorado’s dry, sunny conditions and is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, including clay and sandy soils. Its compact size and drought tolerance make it a valuable addition to water-wise landscapes, where it provides habitat and food for birds and beneficial insects. Standing Ovation shines in naturalistic plantings, meadow gardens, or as a focal point in mixed borders, where its ever-changing colors offer year-round interest.

Golden Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’)

This gorgeous perennial grass brings a touch of elegance to shaded areas of the garden with its cascading mounds of golden-yellow foliage that brighten even the darkest corners. It’s a cool-season grass that prefers partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil, making it an excellent choice for gardens with dappled sunlight or filtered shade. Its graceful, arching habit adds movement and texture to woodland gardens, shady borders, or container plantings. Golden Hakone pairs beautifully with ferns, hostas, and other shade-loving perennials, creating a lush tapestry of colors and textures. While it may require supplemental watering during periods of drought, its low maintenance needs and stunning foliage make it a worthwhile addition to any Colorado garden.

Ornamental grasses offer an array of textures, colors, and forms that can enhance the beauty and functionality of Colorado gardens. From the classic elegance of Karl Foerster Grass to the ethereal charm of Mexican Feather Grass, there’s a grass to suit every taste and garden style.

Whether you’re looking to add vertical interest, vibrant color, or graceful movement to your landscape, these five ornamental grasses are sure to delight Colorado gardeners with their beauty and resilience. So why not consider adding one—or more—of these grasses to your garden this season? Your landscape will thank you for it!