Gotta have it: Pheasant’s Tail Grass
Andrea Bellamy |

Compared to ubiquitous carex and calamagrostis, Anemanthele lessoniana is a less-frequently used ornamental grass (not to mention a bit of a mouthful!). But it deserves wider fame, so I thought it was time to show it some love on the blog.

Commonly known as Pheasant’s Tail Grass (and once known as Stipa arundinacea), this is a cool-season grass that is hardy to zone 8. (Grasses are classified as either cool- or warm-season. Cool-season grasses start to grow as soon as the soil warms up in the spring. They flower in mid-summer and then their growth slows and they just kind of hang out. Warm-season grasses don’t start putting on new growth until late spring. They flower from late summer until frost.)

I love my Pheasant’s Tail Grass. Its glowy spring colour, not really done justice in the photo above, is absolutely stunning, especially when backlit. Its flowers are delicate and whispery, and it maintains a good arching mounded shape all year (I don’t cut mine back). This grass is said to do really well in the Pacific Northwest, and mine’s certainly lived up to that plug. Love, love, love.

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