Florida Ornamental Grasses (Top Picks)


Florida is a beautiful state that’s great for plant lovers, but this isn’t to say that it’s perfect for every plant style. I have found that Florida’s humid climate will easily kill many drought-resistant and low-water plants, so what options for growing will you have in the Sunshine State?

In this guide, I’m going to show you six ornamental types of grass that will safely grow in Florida’s sometimes swampy climate.

Pampas Grass


Native to the Pampas plains in South America, Pampas grass is an incredibly hardy grass that does well in almost any climate. Pampas grass, which is the common name for Cortaderia selloana, is a flowering plant that has a feather-like appearance at its topmost portions. You’ll need lots of sun, so find a place that’s going to get at least six hours a day of rays. Additionally, the soil you need will have to be well-drained and space your clumps at least 8 feet apart so that they don’t crowd each other. You only have to occasionally water pampas.

Red Fountain Grass


One of the best features of red fountain grass is its ruby red coloration, which will bring a startling splash of color to your garden. The color gradations of this plant also vary, with stalks ranging from emerald green to ruby red. This plant grows well in Florida climates since it does well in hardiness zones 8a through 11b. Just make sure to water the soil frequently to keep it nice and moist, which may not be an issue depending on the season in Florida. Fertilize it with 10-10-10 fertilizer, usually around two-to-three tablespoons, and it’ll grow well.

White Fountain Grass


White fountain grass is a beautiful variety of fountain grass that actually looks the most like a fountain with its white tips spreading every which way. This is a particularly useful Florida ornamental grass because it only really needs to be watered when you’re experiencing a dry season or a drought. It’s a good idea to expose the plant to consistent sun, but a little shade won’t cause too much of a problem.

Muhly Grass


Muhly grass has a similar look to fountain grass, but its inflorescences grow to be colored anywhere from pink to purple. The tops of muhly grass are very soft and wheat-like and look great in a garden. This plant is also native to Florida, so you should have no issue growing it within the state. It’s very hardy and will grow in just about any type of soil –make sure that it drains well. Space clumps apart by at least two feet, and you’ll have beautiful ornamental grass in no time.

Fakahatchee Grass


There’s a reason why fakahatchee grass is often referred to as a dwarf palm tree; it’s outward-facing fronds really do emulate the palms that dot the Florida landscape. Compared to the other ornamental grasses that I have covered thus far, fakahatchee is relatively plain in color; it’s usually green but looks great in a garden setting. To grow it, place it in a seedbed that doesn’t have weeds and ensure that it has lots of sun and very little shade. Like the other grasses in this guide, space clumps by a few feet to ensure optimal growth. Also, consider planting in moist, well-draining soil.

Lemon Grass


The one ornamental grass in my guide that’s good in a recipe, lemon grass, also serves as a natural mosquito repellant, which makes it doubly a perfect Florida plant for your garden. It also has a nice-smelling lemony scent when it’s hit by direct sunlight. Ideally, any lemon grass you’re growing should be planted in moist soil and receive as much sun as possible. Remember, frost will quickly kill your lemon grass, so bring inside during the winter when temperatures can go as low as 30 degrees.