Ornamental Grasses for Shade Washington DC

I love ornamental grasses, but all the ones I see at the garden center are labeled for sun. Will any survive in my shady landscape? Read the following article and find what kind of advices gardening experts provide in Washington.

Purple Mountain Organics
(877) 538-9901
7120 Carroll Ave.
Takoma Park, MD

Data Provided by:
Natural Resources Design, Inc.
(202) 489-6214
402 Boyd Avenue
Takoma Park, MD

Data Provided by:
American Plant Food Company
(301) 656-3311
5258 River Road
Bethesda, MD
Products / Services
Annuals, Aquatics, Bird Feeders, Bird Houses / Nest Boxes, Bulbs, Business Services, Chemicals, Conifers / Evergreens, Consulting Services, Crop Protection, Ferns, Garden Center Marketing, Garden Centers / Nurseries, Garden Ornaments, Gardening Supplies, Groundcovers, Hand Tools, Hardscape Supplies, Herbs, Horticulture Companies, Houseplants, Irrigation Supplies, Landscape Consulting, Landscape Contractors, Landscape Design, Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Maintenance / Services, Landscape S…

Data Provided by:
Hyattsville Kmart
(301) 853-3102
6411 Riggs Road
Hyattsville, MD
Products / Services
Vegetables

Data Provided by:
Meadows Farms - 7 Corners
(703) 538-3100
6461 Arlington Boulevard
Falls Church, VA
Products / Services
Annuals, Bulbs, Chemicals, Crop Protection, Garden Center Marketing, Garden Centers / Nurseries, Garden Ornaments, Groundcovers, Horticulture Companies, Landscape Architects, Landscaping Services, Mulch, Perennials, Pest Control Supplies, Plants, Roses, Seeds, Shrubs, Trees, Turfgrass / Sod

Data Provided by:
Johnson's Florist & Garden Centers - Washington
(202) 244-6100
4200 Wisconsin Avenue
Washington, DC
Products / Services
Annuals, Aquatics, Bulbs, Chemicals, Conifers / Evergreens, Crop Protection, Ferns, Florist, Garden Center Marketing, Garden Centers / Nurseries, Garden Ornaments, Gardening Supplies, Groundcovers, Hand Tools, Herbs, Horticulture Companies, Irrigation Supplies, Landscape Architects, Landscape Contractors, Lawn Care Services, Mulch, Ornamental Grasses, Perennials, Pest Control Supplies, Plants, Portable Irrigation Systems, Roses, Seeds, Shrubs, Trees, Vines, Wire Services

Data Provided by:
The Apple House & Garden Center
(703) 998-9077
1721 North Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA
Products / Services
Annuals, Bulbs, Chemicals, Crop Protection, Garden Center Marketing, Garden Centers / Nurseries, Garden Ornaments, Groundcovers, Horticulture Companies, Mulch, Perennials, Pest Control Supplies, Plants, Roses, Seeds, Shrubs, Trees

Data Provided by:
Blue Iris
(240) 603-9239
2225 Washington Ave
Silver Spring, MD
Products / Services
Groundcovers, Perennials, Plants, Shrubs, Trees

Data Provided by:
Greenbelt Kmart
(301) 552-4990
8829 Greenbelt Road
Greenbelt, MD
Products / Services
Vegetables

Data Provided by:
Campbell & Ferrara Nurseries
(703) 354-6724
6651 Little River Turnpike
Alexandria, VA
Products / Services
Annuals, Aquatics, Bulbs, Business Services, Chemicals, Conifers / Evergreens, Crop Protection, Fencing / Gates, Furniture / Structures, Garden Center Marketing, Garden Centers / Nurseries, Garden Ornaments, Gardening Supplies, Grills, Groundcovers, Horticulture Companies, Industry Supplies & Services, Irrigation Supplies, Landscape Architects, Landscape Contractors, Landscape Design, Landscape Supplies, Landscaping Services, Lighting Services, Mulch, Mulch Installation, Nursery Supplies, Out…

Data Provided by:
Data Provided by:

Ornamental Grasses for Shade

Provided by:

I love ornamental grasses, but all the ones I see at the garden center are labeled for sun. Will any survive in my shady landscape?

Answer: There are not many shade-tolerant ornamental grasses available. One to look for is Japanese forest grass, Hakonechloa macra. Usually you will find the golden form, ‘Aureola’, which makes a flowing mound. Though this grass is also listed as one for sunny areas, it resents full sun in the South and adjusts well to shade there.

You may also try river oats, Chasmanthium latifolium, sometimes called inland sea oats. This knee-high native grass occurs naturally in shade, often along streams. While a lovely, graceful plant, its effect is rather wispy—it does not make large clumps. It also reseeds vigorously, sometimes becoming a weed.

You may wish to investigate sedges (Carex), which are not true grasses but look very similar to them. Many of them tolerate or even require shade. They are generally smaller in stature, but many of them do make distinctively shaped mounds similar to some of the ornamental grasses.

Sweet flags (Acorus) are also grasslike in habit. The soft gold A. gramineus ‘Ogon’ is most commonly found. It likes shade, wet or dry. Both sweet flags and sedges make fine container plants. They can e used as companions for pansies in cool seasons and paired later with summer annuals.

Images courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder

Read more Q&A

From Horticulture Magazine