Korean Feather Reed Grass

Korean feather reed grass is one of the latest-flowering ornamental grasses, saving its floral flourish until September and October. This hardy Asian grass forms a slowly spreading, vase-shaped clump of stems with narrow, dark green leaves that arch gracefully. The real show starts in autumn when many flowering stems arise from the clump.

The pinkish flower heads are 6 to 8 inches long and look like soft, fluffy bottle brushes. The seed heads that follow the flowers are more compact and wheat-like, and they provide interesting garden texture well into the winter.

Common name: Korean feather reed grass

Botanical name: Calamagrostis brachytricha (synonym C. arundinacea var. brachytricha)

Plant type: Herbaceous perennial grass

Zones: 4 to 9

Height: 3 to 4 feet

Family: Poaceae

Growing conditions


  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil: Tolerates most soil types
  • Moisture: Average to fairly damp

Care


  • Mulch: None, or 1 inch organic mulch
  • Pruning: Cut back in late winter or early spring
  • Fertilizer: Apply compost or diluted soluble fertilizer if needed

Propagation


  • Division
  • Seed

Pests and diseases


  • No serious problems

Garden notes


  • Korean feather reed grass likes moist soil and is a good choice for the upper tier of a rain garden.
  • The airy flowerheads of Korean feather reed grass are a lovely complement to colorful fall-blooming perennial flowers such as asters, mums and goldenrods.
  • Plant Korean feather reed grass singly or in small groups in perennial beds or mixed plantings. It also makes a spectacular mass planting where space allows.

All in the family


  • The grass family (Poaceae) is a very large group with nearly 12,000 species worldwide.
  • Grass family members are an essential element in many ecosystems and are also important sources of animal forage and human food, including corn, wheat, Rice and oats.
  • One of the most popular Calamagrostis for gardens is the hybrid cultivar C. × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’.

Where to buy


Photo: Missouri Botanical Garden