Texas Native Plants – Drought Tolerant Landscaping

Clump Grass for Central Texas Landscapes

Ornamental clump grasses make beautiful accent plantings throughout garden beds. These underutilized plants are drought tolerant once established and are virtually disease free. If high maintenance shrubs are an issue in your home garden beds because of constant pruning requirements, fertilizer needs and insect and pathogen problems, why not experiment with a few native, ornamental grass species.  They take very little effort to keep maintained and looking spectacular in the landscape. It is even recommended to not cut back clump grasses until right before they start to put on new green growth in the spring. It’s a personal preference, but some find the browning foliage in the winter keeps the spaces filled in the garden and is a nice complement to the evergreen shrubs.

In addition to the practical benefits that ornamental grasses offer, there are also aesthetic benefits as well. Not only is their soft, elegant clumping and weeping foliage striking as they blow in the wind, grasses also put off seasonal color that can be very bright and showy, especially when clumped together in large masses. Their fine textures provide for a great contrast amongst other various broader leaved perennials and shrubs. Some species can even exceed the height of privacy fences to create more height as a back drop in garden beds or even aid in creating vegetative screens. Their seedlings are also a great addition to your garden to feed wildlife, but need not worry; most ornamental grasses aren’t attractive to deer.

A few of my favorite clump grass varieties for full sun locations are the Muhly grasses, specifically Gulf Coast Muhly, Big Muhly and Bamboo Muhly, Fountain grasses, Mexican Feather grass, and Maiden Hair grass. For a shady location, Inland Sea Oats is a great selection for a fast establishing native clump grass.

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