Calamagrostis

Extremely tough, undemanding and hardy, this truly all-purpose grass brings bold, erect lines to the garden spectrum.

<i>Calamagrostis</i> x <i>acutiflora</i> ‘Avalanche’

This distinctive newcomer is a variegated form of Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ first spotted by Steve Schmidt at American Ornamental Perennials. Showcasing dramatically striped foliage, the medium-sized clumps spring to life as a hefty white central band bordered by narrow green margins embellishes each blade. Topped with an airy aura of rose-tinged green plumes that later take on warm, golden hues, ‘Avalanche’s straight-up stance forges a compelling specimen, or when planted en masse, a boldly patterned screen. (PPAF)

Blooms May–January.

Size: 5' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Zone 4/5.

<i>Calamagrostis</i> x <i>acutiflora</i> ‘Karl Foerster’ <i>Calamagrostis</i> x <i>acutiflora</i> ‘Karl Foerster’

Named for pioneering German nurseryman Karl Foerster, this selection bears loose and airy 12 in. seed heads, which tighten to slender plumes by midsummer. Rising above 2 ft. clumps of narrow green foliage, the inflorescences create an ideal semitransparent veiling effect. Plant with deep green Viburnums to accentuate its golden flowering stems.

Blooms May–January.

Size: 5' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Warmed by rosy maroon plumes, Calamagrostis brachytricha is native to the moist woodlands of eastern Asia. The inflorescences stay open and feathery, even when they dry, and eventually pale to an elegant silvery gray. Magical both in an arrangement or outside when the wind blows, the panicles leap from a clump of glossy green, upright and arching blades. This warm season grass exhibits a smaller stature, making it well suited for a container.

Blooms September.

Size: 4' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

The ultrafine white hairs lining arching medium green blades glisten with dew, while narrow, loosely feathered caramel-colored inflorescences loll above. Smaller-sized than C. x ‘Karl Foerster’ and well-suited for gardens short on space, this relatively new soft-looking Calamagrostis develops a versatile low maintenance clump that transmutes warm rosy amber hues in autumn. ‘Cheju-do’ can be featured as an elegant specimen, planted en masse around large shrubs or small trees and looks especially lovely skirting a Japanese Maple.

Blooms August–October

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 3' 0" – 4' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Calamagrostis foliosa</i> <i>Calamagrostis foliosa</i>

Garnished by violet tinges, low loose mounds of glaucous blue-gray blades generally remain throughout the year and set this cool season California native apart from other North American Calamagrostis species. Slender tapering pinkish purple panicles sojourn just above the relaxed foliage in a lovely fountain-like fashion and by early summer adopt luminous flaxen hues.

Cape Mendocino Reed Grass pouts when it’s hot, appreciates summer irrigation and looks artful either as a large-scale ground cover or peppered throughout mixed borders and naturalized meadows.

Blooms May–November.

Size: 18" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

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Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Helianthus 'Sheila's Sunshine', Persicaria 'Summer Dance', and Selinum wallichianum

Helianthus ‘Sheila’s Sunshine - P-0461

The sunflower was once an emblem of the Sun God of the Incas. Our sunflowers tolerate a wide range of garden soils, attract bees, and make great cut flowers. Blooms early August – October.

Persicaria ‘Summer Dance’ - P-1312

With foliage that’s close to lime-green, and spiky floral tails that approach the scarlet spectrum of rosy pink, this slow spreading perennial is sure to please. Happiest in semishade with ample moisture. Blooms August–November.

Selinum wallichianum - P-1406

This refined Himalayan beauty happens to be one of our favorite perennial umbellifers. With untold elegance, infinitely divided leaves craft a delicate, lacelike transparency. The compact yet airy green canopy is framed by distinctive, purple-infused branching stems that elevate a charming, late season display of white flattened umbels.

Subduing the riotous array of summertime blooms, it seldom needs staking, and appreciates a well draining moist niche. Blooms June–August.

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