September 15, 2016
The Top 6 Plant Combos With Low-Water Grasses
Following garden design principles can result in pleasing and thriving plant combinations. The plant combinations here feature a variety of ornamental grasses and an array of complementary companion plants, utilizing the design methods of massing, repetition and emphasis through varying shapes, sizes, textures and colors. These companion plants not only complement one another beautifully, but they all share the same needs for light and water in their combination plantings. All examples shown prefer full to partial sun and have low water needs.
‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (USDA zones 5 to 9; reported to grow also in zones 3 and 4; find your zone) has shiny green foliage that reaches 2 to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Its showy, feathery plumes emerge in spring or summer and create a narrow, vertical statement, reaching 5 to 6 feet tall. They change to a wheat color through the fall and winter in some regions.
In this meadow-like garden, the feather reed grass creates a dramatic effect of layering and massing, in tandem with the flowering plants in the foreground and against the darkness and strength of the trees in the background. The prominent companion plants include white coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’) and Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia). Together, they offer a beautiful tapestry of colors, contrasts, shapes and textures.