Seasonal Ornamental Grasses

Article by Mark Godlewski photos from Bluestem Nursery
  A very important distinction in the world of ornamental grasses is whether they are Warm Season, Cool Season, or Evergreen. These distinctions affect where you plant the grasses, when you plant the grasses, and how you prune or trim your grasses.
  • Cool season grasses start growing early in the spring as soon as the ground has thawed and can reach their full height early in the summer.
  • Warm season grasses need the soil temperature to get above 20 degrees C and they take until fall to reach full height. If cold weather comes early, they sometimes give up on flowering.

Evergreen Grasses in the Okanagan include:

Helictotrichon sempervirens – Blue Oat Grass
Festuca – Fescue
Carex – Sedge (not technically a grass)

Fig. 1  Evergreen – Blue Oat Grass

Flammability Chart #1

Fig. 2   Cool Season – Feather Reed Grass

Cool season grasses include:

Arrhenatherum – Bulbous oat grass
Calamagrostis – Feather reed grass
Chasmanthium – Northern Sea oats
Deschampsia – Tufted hair grass
Elymus – Wild rye
Koeleria – June grass
Molinia – Moor grass
Poa – Meadow grass
Sesleria – Moor grass
Stipa – Feather grass


Warm season grasses include:

Andropogon – Big bluestem
Bouteloua – Blue grama
Imperata – Japanese blood grass
Miscanthus – Maiden grass
Panicum – Switch grass
Pennisetum – Fountain grass
Saccharum – Hardy pampas grass
Schizachyrium – Little bluestem
Sorghastrum – Indian grass
Sporobolus – Prairie dropseed

Flammability Chart #1

Fig. 3    Warm Season – Fountain Grass

To see the trimming guidelines for different types of grasses, please visit the blog post titled Trimming Ornamental Grasses


Get to know the different seasons of ornamental grasses to maximize your enjoyment of these versatile plants. 

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