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When it comes to making your garden look tropical in cooler climates, plant selection is everything. You will preferably stay away from plants which lose their leaves in winter!
Furthermore, it is best to include plants which do not lose their form as they grow larger. Conventional shrubs rarely maintain a natural form being cut into circular or rectangular shapes as they mature.
This isn’t the case with Grasses! Ornamental grasses come in a wide range of colours sizes and textures. As they grow they never lose their natural shape making them a great choice for tropical gardens.
In the tropical garden, grasses can provide groundcover, movement, colour, splendour and an all round exotic feel.
Consequently I have listed the top 10 grasses for tropical gardens in cooler climates below.
1. Giant Miscanthus
Giant miscanthus is a very large, perennial grass, native to temperate regions of Asia. This tall grass can grow up to 4 metres tall and become a real statement in the jungle border. Not only is this grass visually very impressive it is also very easy to grow, even on poor soil.
2. Japanese blood grass
Japanese blood grass is a complete novelty in the garden with its bright, red, blades of foliage. It can really add an exotic touch with its leaves resembling flames dancing on the breeze. This perennial grass loves a sunny position in a moist but well drained soil
3. Reed canary grass
Reed canary grass is a robust and vigorous grass native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. This clump forming grass is naturally found around wetland areas and river basins. The variegated canary grass looks particularly aesthetic and tropical looking! This makes it ideal for tropical style gardens in cooler climates.
4. Black mondo grass
Black mondo grass is a clump forming, grass, native to East Asia and favoured for its dense, black, foliage. This evergreen, perennial, has strap, like, leaves which spread out horizontally along the ground. This makes them the perfect ground cover plant as they are also tolerant of shady conditions.
5. Giant reed
Also known by its Latin name Arundo donax, this giant, bamboo like, grass is native to the Mediterranean. The ornamental variety comes in a variegated form which has striking, white and green striped foliage. Growing up to 4 metres tall this tropical looking reed can look very effective in a jungle style borders.
6. Chinese silver grass
Chinese silver grass is a perennial flowering grass native to East Asia. Due to its aesthetic qualities and ornamental value this plant has been bred into many cultivars. Its feather like flowers and tall, erect, foliage make it very effective in tropical planting beds.
7. Sedge grass
Sedge grass, also well known by its Latin name Carex is an attractive, clump-forming, evergreen grass. Coming in many variations this grass typically has variegated yellow green foliage with a weeping habit. Its exotic look makes it the perfect ground cover plant for tropical gardens.
8. Mexican feather grass
Mexican feather grass is well known for its soft, feather, like, foliage which sways in the breeze. This evergreen grass has a vertical, fountain-like form, giving it an unusual look in the border. In tropical gardens its yellow foliage can create movement and contrast to surrounding vegetation.
9. Japanese forest grass
Native to Japan, this shade, tolerant, grass has a beautiful, arching, form and variegated foliage. Once established, this evergreen grass can provide a tropical look to beds and borders. This grass is slow growing but can be planted on mass to provide a robust groundcover solution.
10. Purple fountain grass
Purple fountain grass is one of the most striking of all the ornamental grasses. This perennial, grass, originally from Africa and Asia is a true, tropical, specimen, grass.
Consequently it will require frost protection in colder climates. However its impressive vertical form and deep purple foliage makes it worth the effort.
It adds so much interest and excitement to gardens with a tropical theme.
Thank you for reading our article on the best ornamental grasses for tropical gardens.
If you require tropical garden landscaping feel free to contact us.
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