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.

Purple fountain grass was covered in the 27-08-2021 edition of Get Results Gardening. Lots of tropical and subtropical plants suitable for Australian residential landscapes are discussed in this weekly email publication. Find out how to get a free trial at

Purple Fountain Grass

Works well in beds alongside flowering perennials or small shrubs. Sun needed for colour development. Clump-forming to approx 50-60cm. Some more dwarf varieties also available.
Pennisetum advena Rubrum Dwarf Pennisetum advena Rubrum Pennisetum advena Rubrum
Pennisetum advena Rubrum Pennisetum advena Rubrum
Pennisetum advena Rubrum

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 macrostachyum 'Burgundy Giant'

Pennisetum macrostachyum 'Burgundy Giant' (sometimes described as a tall form of Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum') is a tall (approx 1.5-2m) grass with burgundy-coloured foliage and attractive feathery flowerheads. The bamboo/sugarcane effect suits tropical-style gardens.
Pennisetum macrostachyum Burgundy Giant
Pennisetum macrostachyum 'Burgundy Giant'

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

Older News

Grass Pollen Booming in Brisbane

Grass pollen is a major cause of hay fever and allergies. The QUT Allergy Research Group has looked at airborne levels recorded at the Air Quality Monitoring Station in Rocklea, Brisbane over 1994-1999 and compared them with data from 2016-2020. In both periods, the main pollen season starts between mid-October and mid-December. However, the concentration of grass pollen in the air now gets almost three times higher, with more high-risk days. Concurrent meteorological data and satellite imagery were also analysed. Source: Allergy-causing pollen levels much higher in 2010s than 1990s (September, 2021)

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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