Elisabeth C. Miller Library

Gardening Answers Knowledgebase


Knowledgebase record #99


PAL Question

I am looking for a native, drought-tolerant grass for a small garden plot in Seattle. Can you suggest a grass that is 2-3 feet tall and at most 2 feet wide.

Answer

Native grasses that will do well in a dry meadow setting and grow 2-3 feet tall are:

Festuca idahoensis, Idaho fescue
Bromus carinatus and Bromus marginatus, brome grasses
Elymus glaucus, wild rye grass
Melica species, onion grasses
Calamagrostis nutkaensis, Pacific reedgrass

Each of these grasses grow in very distinct shapes--I recommend that you look at them before choosing which species to plant. Fescues are popular grasses for gardens because of their fine blades and pretty seed heads. Additionally, the Elymus and Bromus will grow much more quickly than the other species.

You can perform searches on each of these species at the USDA Plants Database by typing the plant name into the Plants Name search box--
this database will give you additional information about the species and some pictures.

The Washington Native Plant Society website has a list of native plant vendors.

Keywords: Calamagrostis, Melica, Elymus, Bromus, Festuca, Native plants--Care and maintenance, Ornamental grasses, Drought-tolerant plants
Date: 2008-01-03

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