Originating from the Latin word for stalk or stem, the genus Festuca is comprised of approximately 300 cool season perennial species. The following native Californian selections highlight handsome, fine textured tufts, which appreciate a well drained site, annual early spring trimmings and a division every couple of years, while sulking in hot humid weather.
A denizen of central Europe, this ultra fine textured grass is practically peerless among Festucas. Soft silver blue blades with rolled edges configure a well-groomed glaucous mound. Extending above evergreen clumping foliage, quantities of relaxed slender stems generate vivid heliotrope shades paired with amber-hued flower spikes for more than a month. ‘Superba’ can serve as a dynamic small-scale specimen sprinkled above a stone wall or throughout the rockery, where its stunning color always beckons.
Blooms mid-May to mid-July.
Size: 18" – 2' 0" high x 2' 0" – 2-1/2' wide.
Hardy to zone 4.
A focal point for its stiff silvery blades, this robust grass originated from seed that Cal Flora Nursery owner, Phil Van Soelen, collected near California’s Sonoma coast. Anchored by burgundy sheaves, glaucous gray-green leaves remain evergreen in milder climates and become more lustrous as the weather warms. Unfurling in open, yet showy, abundance, the graceful greenish panicles mature to a golden hue some 2 or 3 ft. above a fairly compact, dense basal tuft of enduring handsome foliage. Resplendent massed with shrubs such as Ceanothus, Cistus or Ribes, ‘Phil’s Silver’ prefers minimal to moderate summer water and obliges an array of situations, such as coastal slopes, wind and drought in cooler locations.
Size: 3' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 7.
Not only beautifully blue, but hard-working to boot, this water wise perennial grass is a California native from Del Norte County. A thick, tidy hummock of very thin, chalk blue blades sends up slender, wandlike stems holding graceful, airy golden sprays.
Hallmarked by a composed appearance, ‘Stony Creek’ is most impressive and enduring in large drifts on banks or hillsides, where it aids erosion control, resists those pesky deer, doesn’t falter in full sun even inland, and prefers some afternoon shade.
Size: 2' 0" – 2-1/2' high x 2' 0" wide.
Indigenous to Morocco's Atlas Mountains, this long lived cold hardy grass sprouts a gracefully arching fountain distinguished by handsome khaki-tinged gray-green blades. Taller than most Festucas, Atlas has quickly earned the reputation as one of the finest large area ground covers, proving indispensable for mass plantings on slopes, in mixed borders or natural style meadows. Evergreen where winters are mild and remarkably drought tolerant, its reliable good looking mound relishes occasional waterings and doesn't require a trim, only a little raking.
Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 4.