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Grasses for borders can transform an ordinary garden into a vibrant tapestry of textures, colors, and forms. As a gardener, understanding how to select, plant, and care for these grasses is essential. This article, structured in two parts, will guide you through the process of growing grasses for borders, ensuring your garden stands out in every season.

Key Takeaways

  • Selection: Choose grasses based on size, color, and texture to match your garden’s aesthetic.
  • Planting: Prepare the soil well and understand the specific needs of each grass type.
  • Location: Select a location that meets the sunlight and soil requirements of your chosen grasses.
  • Care: Regular maintenance includes watering, fertilizing, and pruning for optimal growth.

How to Grow Grasses for Borders

Grasses, with their diverse range, can be a central feature in any garden. Here’s how to start:

How to Grow Grasses for Borders

Choosing the Right Grass

The first step is to select the right grasses. Consider factors like size, color, and growth habits. For instance, Mondo grass is ideal for low borders, while Stipa tenuissima adds height and movement.

Table 1: Grass Varieties and Their Features

Grass Type Height Color Features
Mondo Grass 2-24 inches Green, Black Shade-tolerant, narrow leaves
Stipa tenuissima Up to 60cm Golden Yellow Fluffy plumes, semi-evergreen

Soil Preparation

Proper soil preparation is vital. It should be well-draining and enriched with organic matter. Different grasses have varying soil preferences, so tailor the soil composition to match their needs.

Table 2: Soil Requirements for Popular Grasses

Grass Type Soil Type Additional Requirements
Mondo Grass Humus-rich Moist, well-drained
Stipa tenuissima Well-drained, Any Full sun exposure

Growing Grasses for Borders: Problem Solving

Where to Grow Grasses for Borders

The location of your grasses can significantly impact their growth and appearance.

Sunlight and Shade

Most grasses thrive in full sun, but some, like Mondo grass, prefer shaded areas. Assess your garden’s sunlight pattern before planting.

Spacing and Layout

Consider the mature size of the grasses for adequate spacing. This ensures each plant has enough room to grow and flourish without overcrowding.

How to Plant Grasses for Borders

Planting grasses requires attention to detail to ensure they establish well in your garden.

Planting Steps

  • Dig a Hole: The hole should be twice as wide as the root ball and of the same depth.
  • Place the Grass: Position the grass in the center of the hole at the same depth it was in the pot.
  • Backfill the Hole: Gently backfill with soil, ensuring no air pockets are left.
  • Water Thoroughly: Water the plant to settle the soil around the roots.


Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the grass to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Table 3: Ideal Mulching Materials for Grasses

Grass Type Mulching Material
Mondo Grass Leaf Mold, Straw
Stipa tenuissima Organic Mulch

Caring for Grasses for Borders

Caring for Grasses for Borders

Proper care is crucial for the health and aesthetic appeal of your border grasses.

Watering and Fertilizing

  • Watering: Grasses generally need regular watering, especially during dry spells.
  • Fertilizing: Apply a balanced fertilizer in spring to encourage robust growth.

Seasonal Maintenance

  • Spring: Top-dress with compost and prune if necessary.
  • Autumn: Prepare for winter by clearing debris and applying a fresh layer of mulch.


Prune grasses in early spring to remove any dead or damaged foliage. This encourages fresh, healthy growth.

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How to Propagate Grasses for Borders

Propagation is key to expanding your grass collection without additional cost.

How to Propagate Grasses for Borders

Division Method

  • Select Mature Clumps: Choose healthy, mature grass clumps.
  • Divide in Spring or Autumn: Use a sharp spade to divide the root ball.
  • Replant Immediately: Plant divisions promptly to ensure successful establishment.

Table 4: Ideal Grasses for Division Propagation

Grass Type Propagation Difficulty Best Time for Division
Mondo Grass Easy Spring/Autumn
Stipa tenuissima Moderate Spring/Autumn

Seed Propagation

  • Some grasses can be grown from seeds, though this method may require more patience.
  • Sow in Spring: Sow seeds in well-draining soil.
  • Provide Light and Moisture: Ensure adequate sunlight and keep the soil moist.

Growing Grasses for Borders: Problem Solving

Even with the best care, problems can arise. Being proactive in identifying and addressing these issues is crucial.

How to Plant Grasses for Borders

Pest and Disease Management

Regularly inspect your grasses for signs of pests or diseases. Early intervention is key to effective management.

Table 5: Common Problems and Solutions

Problem Solution
Pest Infestation Use eco-friendly pest control
Fungal Diseases Improve air circulation

Varieties of Grasses to Grow for Borders

Diversifying your border with different grass varieties can create a stunning visual impact.

Table 6: Grass Varieties and Their Unique Features

Grass Type Height Special Features
Bunnytail Grass 40cm Fluffy flower heads
Carex Oshimensis 40cm Evergreen, white margins
Miscanthus Varies Dramatic, tall plumes

Companion Planting

Companion Planting

Grasses pair beautifully with a range of perennials. Consider plants that complement the texture and color of your grasses.

Table 7: Ideal Companion Plants

Grass Type Companion Plant
Mondo Grass Shade-loving Perennials
Stipa tenuissima Floral Perennials

Frequently Asked Questions

Water them regularly, especially during dry spells. Overwatering can be harmful, so ensure good drainage.

Yes, certain varieties like Mondo Grass thrive in shaded conditions.

Early spring, before new growth starts, is ideal for pruning.