Woodie’s Picks: Warm Season Grasses To Elevate Your Outdoor Space

Woodie’s Picks: Warm Season Grasses To Elevate Your Outdoor Space

Jun 18, 2024

As we head into summer's peak temperatures, keeping new plantings in the landscape happy and healthy can certainly feel like a chore. Luckily, plenty of warm-season grasses can handle the heat and easily elevate your outdoor space.

Keep reading to learn more about Woodie’s favorite perennial ornamental grasses for giving your space a glow-up this summer! variety of warm season grasses growing together in a landscape

What Is A Warm-Season Grass?

Before we discuss Woodie’s favorite varieties, it is important to understand that not all grasses fall into this category. A warm-season grass grows best in hot climates with temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to their tolerance to high temperatures, these grasses also have an increased salt tolerance and require less water to thrive. 

Also known as ‘Southern Grasses,” Warm-season grasses do best in climates that are warmer year-round, ideally in USDA grow zones 5 through 9. Thus, it is important to verify your USDA growing zone before shopping for warm-season grasses. 

When you plant these warm-season grasses, you can expect to enjoy their beauty from early June through to the fall. If you opt not to cut your grasses back, they can also serve as some textural winter interest as the plumes dry and add to a dull winter landscape. 

close up view of pink muhly grass

Benefits of Warm-Season Grasses

Beyond the beauty and texture they add to a landscape, warm-season perennial grasses offer many benefits to a landscape.

  • Low-Maintenance and Hearty To The Elements

The number one benefit of warm-season grasses, as highlighted above, is their low-maintenance nature and hardiness to the elements! These beautiful landscape plants require less water, fertilizer, care, and attention than many other plants would in the landscape. In turn, you are benefiting the environment by conserving precious resources!

  • Erosion Control & Water Quality Protection

The next incredible benefit you can reap from planting warm-weather grasses is the control of erosion and protection of bodies of water that these plants provide. Once established, warm-season grasses produce extensive root systems that immobilize large quantities of excessive soil nutrients. 

  • Provide Habitat For Local Wildlife

In addition to erosion control, warm-season grasses provide essential habitats for local wildlife. Their bunchy growth habit is an important structure for ground-nesting birds! The lush stems are also ideal for protecting smaller critters like bunnies and turtles from predators.

  • Improve Biodiversity

A final important benefit of planting warm-season grasses in your summer garden is the improvement of biodiversity. The presence of warm-season grasses supports a plethora of valuable insects, which are important in a landscape to help keep pests at bay and allow for a balanced ecosystem. 

Woodie’s Favorite Warm-Season Grasses

Now that you understand why warm-season grasses are so beneficial in the landscape, it’s time to dive into Woodie’s all-time favorite varieties! 

close up of sand-colored plumes on fountain grass

1. Fountain Grass

One of the most well known and well-loved warm-season grasses is Pennisetum Hameln or Dwarf Fountain Grass. When you plant fountain grass, you can look forward to mounds of arching dark green spikes topped with delicate white flower seed heads that persist through the winter! 

A Word From Woodie:

"Fountain grass is a long time favorite of mine, not only because of its hardiness to the elements, but because of the elegance it adds to a landscape. As many of you know, the winter garden is one of my favorites, and pennisetum adds unmatched beauty and texture to the winter landscape."

close up of soft thin foliage on mexican feather grass

2. Mexican Feather Grass

No peaceful outdoor oasis is complete without the graceful beauty of Mexican Feather Grass. The extremely fine texture of these grass strands gives a soft and poetic feel to any garden.

A Word From Woodie:

"Mexican Feather Grass adds a touch of sophistication to any landscape. It's incredible to watch how a space automatically transforms when you incorporate this fine-textured grass into the garden."

mondo grass as a low growing garden border ground cover plant

3. Mondo Grass

Next on the list of favorite warm-season grasses is a long-time classic: Mondo Grass. This low-growing clump forming grass is perfect for use as a ground cover or low-growing border, and unlike many grasses can thrive in the shade! You can also look forward to sweet spikes of lilac blooms in summer.

A Word From Woodie:

"Mondo Grass is like the butter to the bread of a landscape. It is simple yet elevated, and although low-growing, its deep green hues make a grand impact in any outdoor space!"

4. Pink Muhly Grass

fluffy pink grass

Last, but certainly not least on the list of the best warm-season grasses is Pink Muhly Grass! This show-stopping perennial grass produces clouds of fluffy pink foliage that brings unmatched color and beauty to any landscape. 

A Word From Woodie:

"This perennial sedge-like plant is everything you could ever want in an ornamental grass: bold color, hardy to the elements, and native! This grass is most dramatic when planted in mass in the landscape."

Shop Warm-Season Grasses Online

Incorporating warm-season grasses into the landscape is something that adds timeless beauty and elegance to any outdoor space. Shop or wide variety of both warm-season and cool-season perennial grasses online today and enjoy convenient shipment directly to your doorstep!