Increasingly, ornamental grasses are used to decorate balconies and terraces. Meet the most popular ornamental grasses for the patio. Guide: ornamental grasses for the balcony and terrace – species overview, growing conditions, care, wintering.
Ornamental grasses are plants that give an impression of wildness and naturalness to any place where they grow. In addition, the noise of their leaves stimulates the senses and has a soothing effect on us. In the past, grasses were planted mainly in gardens and parks; now, some species are more and more often grown in containers as decoration of balconies or terraces. Meet the most popular ornamental grasses for the patio.
Ornamental grasses have a wide range of applications – they are a group of plants that includes species characterized by varied appearances and requirements. For container cultivation, plants are usually selected at low or medium height, with slight expansion. A particular limitation is also frost resistance. It is most convenient to choose species that are entirely frost-resistant for containers. However, even despite complete frost resistance, it will be necessary to perform specific treatments before the onset of winter.
Decorative grasses for the balcony – cultivation in containers
Ornamental grasses for the balcony are selected in terms of position, as in cultivation in the ground. In this case, the place of cultivation is essential because, for example, the sun at the southern exposure will be more “troublesome” for plants placed on the balcony than for those planted in the ground. The choice of frost-resistant plants is essential if we intend to leave them outside for the winter. Then the container should be well protected (e.g. with polystyrene boards) and the top layer of the substrate (with litter). It is also worth watching the grass from the wind (protective mats). In winter storage of plants indoors (always cool and bright), you can purchase more exotic species.
Growing ornamental grasses in containers has its own rules. The substrate can be adapted to the individual needs of grasses, but it is always recommended to use a solid drainage layer. The containers are adjusted to the growth rate of the plants. Small species are satisfied with standard pots and boxes in which geraniums, surfing and verbena are traditionally grown. Tall grasses should be provided with solid containers (with a minimum capacity of 35-40 l) made of heavier materials (this will reduce the risk of overturning). Grasses, especially on a covered balcony, are more dependent on humans and dry faster than those grown in the ground, so they should be watered regularly, sometimes even every day. Nitrogen fertilizers, in this case, are rather inadvisable; it is better to focus on products containing an increased amount of phosphorus, potassium and microelements.
Decorative grasses for the balcony – an overview of species and varieties
- Imperata cylindrical ‘Red Baron’
It is one of the most beautifully coloured ornamental grasses. Reaches a small size of 30-40 cm in height (up to a maximum of 60 cm). It is worth using it as the main plant decoration, preferably against a background of uniformly green plants or against dark walls. It has low soil requirements. He likes sunny places.
- Bluefish ‘Variegata’
It forms dense clumps composed of green-yellow-white leaves. Grown in containers, it usually does not exceed 60 cm in height. It fits well with modern architecture. It is worth planting in tall, narrow containers. It prefers slightly shaded places.
- Japanese Rozplenica ‘Fireworks‘
It is one of the most beautiful varieties, producing attractively coloured leaves (green-white at first, turning red or maroon in autumn). The species is sensitive to freezing temperatures, and it should be moved to the room before the onset of frosts.
- Blue fescue
This is low grass (25-30 cm high) with standard requirements. It has blue-green leaves. It does not require large containers; it can be grown in boxes fixed on the railing – in a group or combination with other species.
- Stipa Strong ‘Pony Tails’
It reaches up to 50 cm in height. It has a partially overhanging habit. Its fluffy, cream inflorescences are arranged in the shape of a “ponytail”. Poland is treated as an annual plant propagated from seeds (optimal sowing in March – indoors).
- Hakonechloa slender
It has yellow-green striped leaves. It creates dense clumps growing up to 30-90 cm in height. It is not frost-resistant enough; it should be well covered before winter or – even better – moved to a cool room. It is a species that will bring a breath of exoticism to the balcony or terrace.
- Walrasian fescue ‘Glaucantha’ – grows up to 25 cm in height. It has narrow, steel-blue leaves and stiffly raised inflorescence shoots (similar in colour). Before the onset of frosts, it should be well covered.