Feather Reed Grass
Feather Reed Grass, Calamagrostis
This graceful, metamorphic grass changes its habit and flower color throughout the seasons. The slightest breeze keeps feather reed grass in perpetual motion.
Feather reed grass grows best in full sun. The soil should be fertile, moist and well drained. Heavy clay and dry soils are tolerated.
Rain and heavy snow may cause feather reed grass to flop temporarily, but it quickly bounces back. Cut it back to 4–6" in early spring before growth begins, and divide it when it begins to die out in the center.
Whether it’s used as a single, stately focal point, in small groupings or in large drifts, feather reed grass is a desirable, low-maintenance grass. It combines well with late summer- and fall-blooming perennials.
C. x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ (Foerster’s feather reed grass) is the most popular selection and forms a loose mound of green foliage from which airy bottlebrush flowers emerge in June. The flowering stems have a loose, arching habit when they first emerge but grow more stiff and upright over summer. Other cultivars include ‘Overdam,’ a compact, less hardy selection with white leaf edges. Watch for a new introduction called ‘Avalanche,’ which has a white center stripe.
Features: open habit becomes upright; silvery pink flowers turn rich tan; green foliage turns bright gold in fall; winter interest
Hardiness: zones 4–9
Feather reed grass may be susceptible to rust in cool, wet summers or in areas with poor air circulation.