Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld


Ornamental grasses

This page will cover grass species typically grown as specimens in the garden or in containers for their decorative foliage and/or flower spikes and seed heads. Turf, Bamboo and Tiger grass are covered on a seperate pages. Zoysia AKA "no mow grass" is also covered on the Turf page, although when grown as an unmown groundcover, it might be considered an ornamental species.

Likewise the various other plants that have clumping, grass-like leaves but do not belong to the grass family Poaceae are also covered on different pages. (see related topics at right). These might be substitued where something with a tufted habit is desired.

Beware! Many grasses have great weed potential. Buy your plants from reputable sources that supply your area. If in doubt, consult the appropriate authority for your region.

Where to buy ornamental grasses in Qld


General garden centres are likely to have a selection of ornamental grasses or grassy-type plants for sale, but you might have to search around for unusual types.

If they are natives, check native plant nurseries. if they have a culinary, herbal or permaculture use, check with nurseries that stock those types of plants.

If you operate a nursery specialising in ornamental grasses suitable for Qld, or a business (including online and mail order nurseries) offering a good selection of such plants for sale to the public in Qld, consider advertising on this webpage. Information for advertisers.

More Online Information

The following are for general information, research and ideas - some species or cultivars referred to in links may be unavailable in Australia or unsuitable for Queensland conditions

General Information

Ornamental Grass Research at the University of Minnesota
Ornamental grasses: cutting back Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Ornamental grasses: dividing Royal Horticultural Society, UK

Purple Fountain Grass

Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' (Purple Fountain Grass, Red Fountain Grass, Pennisetum 'Burgundy Giant') is popular a tall (approx 1.5-2m) grass with burgundy-coloured foliage and attractive feathery flowerheads. The bamboo/sugarcane effect suits tropical-style gardens. There is also a more clump-forming "dwarf" form (approx 50-60cm) which works well in beds alongside flowering perennials or small shrubs. Be sure to pick the right variety for your design.
Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum') at the Grow Me Instead website, Australia
Pennisetum x advena 'Rubrum' Singapore National Parks
Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' Missouri Botanical Garden

Pennisetum advena Rubrum Tall
Pennisetum advena Rubrum Tall form

Pennisetum advena Rubrum Dwarf
Pennisetum advena Rubrum Dwarf form

Tiger Grass

Thysanolaena maxima syn. Thysanolaena latifolia These links have been moved to a separate page: Tiger grass

No-Mow Grass

Links about Zoysia tenuifolia have been included on the Turf page

Australian Native Grasses

If you're interested in the use of grasses as ornamentals, why not explore the potential of Australian native species?
Stipa information on native grasses and their use in agriculture
Australian Grasses, Sedges & Rushes Australian Plants Society, Central Coast Group (NSW)
Australian Native Grasses and Gardens Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Formerly the Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP)
Use of Native Grasses in Landscaping Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Formerly the Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP)
The Pricelessness of Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Formerly the Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP)
Growing Grasses Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Formerly the Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP)
The Use Of Native Grasses In Your Garden Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Formerly the Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP)
Themeda triangularis Kangaroo Grass. Save Our Waterways Now, Brisbane
Barbed Wire Grass (Cymbopogon refractus) at the Grow Me Instead website, Australia
Cymbopogon refractus Barbed Wire Grass. Save Our Waterways Now, Brisbane
Cymbopogon ambiguus A.Camus PlantNET, National Herbarium of NSW
Cymbopogon ambiguus Alice Springs Town Council
Cymbopogon ambiguus (Hack.) A.Camus Atlas of Living Australia
Cymbopogon ambiguus Ausgrass2
Native Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon ambiguus) at the Grow Me Instead website, Australia
Cymbopogon obtectus Silky Heads. Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney
Microlaena stipoides FloraBank
Poa labillardieri FloraBank
Poa labillardieri:Tussock Grass The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Themeda triandra FloraBank
Prickly Couch Zoysia macrantha. Coastal Plant Regeneration, Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy
Sand spinifex grass (Spinifex sericeus) Department of Environment and Resource Management, Queensland (PDF)
Friends of Grasslands Australian Capital Territory

More to come in future updates...

Older News

Mexican Feather Grass traders go to court
Bunnings plus several wholesale nurseries have pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to buying and selling Mexican Feather Grass in 2008. As part of an out-of-court settlement, Bunnings have agreed to implement better systems and staff training to prevent noxious weeds being distributed in the future. Source: Bunnings Fined Over Prohibited Weed (July 2010)

Weed Alert!
Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) has been introduced into Queensland as mislabelled nursery stock. This Class 1 declared weed poses a threat to agriculture and the environment. If you suspect that the feature grass you have recently bought or had installed in your lansdscape might be Mexican Feather Grass, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. Do not move or dump the plant. You can find more information and pictures of the weed at the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries website. (November, 2008)

Update April, 2009: Biosecurity Queensland want to track down remaining feather grass plants that were distributed throughout Qld by mistake last year. If you suspect you have one of these plants, or know where one is, do not move or dump the plant. Contact Biosecurity Queensland immediately on 13 25 23.

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