Ornamental Grasses for Shade

Jun 20, 2012

hakonechloa_aureola_prides_corner Ornamental Grasses for ShadeMost folks assume that Ornamental Grasses are solely for sunny spots.  Yes, the majority of these beauties do best when strutting their stuff in full sun but there are some that will shine in  shade.  One of my favorites is Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa).   Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, won the prized Perennial of the Year award in 2009.  It’s a lovely variegated chartreuse and green grass with a cascading habit and it only reaches 4187-1_hakonemacaureolagoldbailey Ornamental Grasses for Shade15”-24”.  Other knockouts in this family are  ‘All Gold’ (solid gold leaves); ‘Naomi’ (green and gold leaves that take on a reddish-purple tint in fall); ‘Albo-Striata’ (green and white leaves); ‘Beni-kaze’ (green leaves that turn reddish in fall); and ‘Nicolas’ (green leaves that turn orangey-red in fall).   Hakone grasses are hardy to Zone 5.  Carexs are another terrific choice for shade.   Carex ‘Bowles Golden’ is a very delicate, thin-bladed, golden grass reaching 2’ to 3’.  It can handle part shade but it has better color if placed in more sun.  Carex ‘Evergold’ has creamy yellow blades with green margins and is only 12” tall.  Both are hardy to Zone 5.  Northern Sea Oats (Chasmantium), hardy to Zone 3, has sweet dropping flowers with green, bamboo-like foliage that tops off around 3’.  It’s charming appearance helps make up for is self-seeding habit.