Variegated Grasses

The variegated group of grasses contains a number of useful, hardy perennial plants which have been in cultivation for a very long time. Some are used both in bedding schemes and in foliage groups. They range from a few inches to 10 ft. high.


Alopecurus pratensis aureus (foxtail grass), 1 ft., the best of the yellow-striped forms, was formerly used mainly in foliage, bedding and park displays.


Arrhenatherum elatius bulbosum (syn. A. avenaceum bulbosum) (false oat grass), a native, 4 ft. when in flower, also known as onion grass because of its swollen bulbous stem base.

A.e.b. Variegatum, 4 ft. when in flower, very striking in early spring when the white stripes in the young foliage make a strong contrast. This contrast is less apparent when it reaches maturity.


Arundo donax variegala (giant reed), from the Mediterranean, 10 or 12 ft. when grown in a warm corner or cool greenhouse, the largest of all the variegated grasses and, if cultivated in the right conditions, the most beautiful. It is not, however, completely hardy so it is advisable to grow plants under glass and propagate from them annually, planting out in late April or May.


Dactylis glomerata variegata (cocksfoot grass), a native, 1 to 2-½ ft., usually grown in public gardens and parks.


Glyccria aquatica variegata, a native, 2 ft., silver variegated and a very striking aquatic plant. It is at its best in a bog garden, although it may be grown in damp and moisture-retentive soils.


Holcus mollis variegata, a native, 8 in., the smallest of the silver variegated grasses, is often used as an edging plant. On some soils it can spread and become invasive.


Miscanthus sinensis gracillimus (syn. Eulalia japonica), from China and Japan, 5 or 6 ft., often used as a pot plant to brighten show groups. It is a hardy plant, at least in the south of England, and, where conditions are favourable, will develop into large clumps.


Miscanthus (Photo credit: edgeplot)

M.s. Striatis (syn. M.S. Variegatus), has vertical prominent white stripes.

M.s. Zebrinus (syn. M.s. Zonatus), has horizontal bands of yellow.


Molinia caerulea aurea variegata, 1-1/2 ft., small and of compact habit, with a graceful inflorescence. It has yellow-striped foliage and flower stems.


Oplismenus birtellus, from the West Indies, widely grown as a pot plant under glass as it is not hardy enough for outdoor cultivation. The leaves are about 2 in. long and the flowers are insignificant. The variegated green, pink and white foliage is often used for flower baskets and for edging purposes in decorative arrangements.


Pbalarisarundinaceapicta(syn. P.a. Variegata), a native, the familiar ribbon grass or gardener’s garters, about 4 ft. high when in flower, and at its best in the spring when its white-striped foliage is conspicuous.


Spartinapeclinata aurea-lineata, from North America, 4 ft., has a prominent gold stripe running down the centre of the leaf.


Zea mays gracillima (Indian corn), 3 to 8 ft., has white-striped leaves.

Z.m. Quadricolor (Indian corn), 3 to 10 ft. A good strain of this plant can produce striping in green, white, yellow or pink.

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28. January 2013 by admin
Categories: Grasses, Plants | Tags: , | Comments Off on Variegated Grasses


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