Plant Reference Guide


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Reference Guide Contents

Perennials A1 |A2|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|Hosta|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U-V |W-Z

 Ferns | Grasses | Roses | Trees & Shrubs | Vines  | Edibles  | Annuals

Click on small images for larger views of plants.



Acorus 'Variegatus'


Arundo 'Peppermint Stick'


Calamagrostis 'Karl Forestor'


Carex 'Banana Boat'


Carex 'Bowles Golden'


Carex 'Evergold'


Carex 'Oehme'




















Fescua 'Elijah Blue'
































Miscanthus 'Gold Bar'


Miscanthus 'Gracillimus'


Miscanthus 'Huron Sunrise'


Miscanthus strictus


Miscanthus 'Super Stripe'




Panicum 'Cheyenne Sky'


Pennisetum 'Hameln'


Pennisetum 'Karly Rose'


Pennisetum 'Pennstripe'


Schizachyrium 'Prairie Blues'




ACORUS, Sweet Flag.  Part shade; tolerant of wet areas.

calamus ‘Variegatus.’  This popular cultivar has long narrow leaves with green and creamy white bands. The grass-like foliage is dramatic in water or around water in pots or tubs. Requires moisture at all times. Non-invasive.  Bruised leaves emit a sweet, citrusy scent.

gramineus ‘Oborozuki.’  Pendulous, sedgelike green leaves with yellow variegation. Grows best in moist soil. 12”. Part shade.

g. ‘Minimum Aureus.’  Dwarf 2-4” yellow bladed Sweet Flag is great contrast  or edging plant.


ANDROPOGON gerardi 'Indian Warrior'  Big Bluestem. Tall upright green foliage transforms to red then smoky purple beginning midsummer. Deep purple flowers with bright red-orange pollen. Matures to a nice 5-6' tall clump, sun.


ARRHENATHERUM, Oat Grass.  Sun or shade.

elatius bulbosum. 12-15"; variegated green grass with cream colored margins.


ARUNDO, Giant Reed Grass.  Sun.

donax ‘Peppermint Stick.’ 9-12’; gigantic grass for dramatic landscape accent; broad leaves are boldly striped creamy-white; beautiful in tubs or large pots.  18” flower heads appear in fall.

d. 'Golden Chain.' Vibrant gold and green foliage makes a dramatic display. Small and less aggressive than other varieties. Grows 5-7'.


BOUTELOUA curtipendula, Sideoats Grass.  12-18” fine leaf, sod-forming, warm season native.  Delicate pendant seed heads, graceful foliage.  2005 Great Plants designee. 


BRIZIA media, Quaking Grass.  Sun.  6-8"; dark green leaves; 2-3' rattlesnake-like spikelets that quake in the slightest breeze; young spikelets are pale green turning tan at maturity.


CALAMAGROSTIS, Feather Reed Grass.  Sun; blooms in summer.

acutiflora ‘Avalanche,’ Variegated Feather Reed Grass.  Each blade has a white center with green margins.  Pink-bronze flowers bloom in June then fade to a tawny brown.  Strong upright habit.  Excellent vertical accent for the garden. 

x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster.’  5-6'; deep green upright foliage; showy, striking feathery flower spikes begin pink then mature to wheat-color; excellent for drying; can grow in heavy soil. Designated 2001 Perennial Plant of the Year for it’s outstanding qualities.

a. ‘Overdam.’  White edged leaves in compact clumps.  Pink plumes on 36” stems in summer.

brachytricha, Korean Feather Reed Grass. Large, fluffy, purplish-red  bottlebrush plumes appear in late summer. Thick blades 4' tall make good clumps. Sun to shade. One of a handful of ornamental grasses that blooms well in shade.


CAREX, Sedge.  Shade/part shade; prefers moist, well-drained soil; good for massing, rock gardens, and shade borders.

buchananii ‘Green Twist.’  Very narrow, olive green leaves. Upright vase-shaped clump. Great for combination containers.

carophyllea ‘Beetlemania.’  Reminiscent of the 60’s ‘do!  Long, dark green blades with creamy yellow edges slowly spread to form a 2’ wide mop-like clump. 

conica ‘Snowline.’  Fine dark green 6” - 12” leaves with wide white margins.  Full to part shade, and even sun, with plenty of moisture.

divulsa ‘Kaga-Nishiki’, Gold Fountains.  Clump forming sedge has slender, elegant leaves with a border of gold.  15”.

dolichostachva ‘Golden Fountains.’   Textured foliage with gold variegation on the leaf margins. Grows in a symmetrical fountain-like mound. Long-lived and durable. Tolerates dry conditions. 10”. Part shade to shade.

elata ‘Bowles Golden,’ Gold Sedge.  Bright gold foliage with narrow green margins; spectacular with blue Hosta or gold edge Hosta; 2-3’.

ciliatomarginata, ‘Treasure Island,’ Woodland Sedge.  Very low growing, only 3” tall, dramatic broad foliage with white edges.  Excellent groundcover for shade.

glauca ‘Blue Zinger’: Tufts of glaucous blue leaves. Drought and shade tolerant. 10-20”.

hachijoensis ‘Evergold,’ Variegated Japanese Sedge.  Bright creamy yellow stripes in center of leaves, green margins. Leaves are 12-16” tall and arch gracefully to the ground. Grows best in moist, well drained soil in light shade.

morrowii ‘Ice Dance.’  Compact tufts of ½” wide dark green leaves with clear white borders.  Excellent low maintenance groundcover. Moderate spread. 12” tall.

muskingamensis ‘Little Midge,’ Miniature Palm Sedge.  Fun, tropical looking plant that looks like tiny palm trees.  Excellent, very fine foliage spreads slowly by rhizomes to form a lovely ground cover. 12-15”.

mukingamensis ‘Oehme.’  Golden variegated leaf edge, radiating horizontally along stems giving a palm tree effect.  Excellent groundcover for part to full shade.  18-24”

pennsylvanica, Pennsylvania Sedge.  Fine texture and fountaining habit give this sedge a soft appearance.  Great as an underplanting for bolder shade perennials or on its own as a shade lawn.  Height 8-10”.

platyphyulla, Silver Sedge.  A spectacular new clump-forming sedge with powder blue leaves up to an inch or more wide.  Spreads slowly to form a wonderfully textured groundcover in moist or average soil.  Tolerates dry shade once established.  An early spring haircut makes room for clean new growth.  Great for shade.

siderosticha ’Banana Boat.’  Broad banana-yellow leaves up to 2” wide with narrow green edges.  Plumes of silver flowers.  Prefers part shade. 

s. ‘Island Brocade.’  A very hard, Hosta-like sedge with strong, golden edges! Vigorous. Super as it travels and mixes in containers and then spills over the edge.


CHASMANTHIUM, Northern Sea Oats.  Sun/part shade.  Native.

latifolium. 30-36”; narrow slightly arching plants; flowers in late summer; the flat green seed heads hang on slender stems and persist into winter turning reddish bronze; good for shade garden.

l. ‘River Mist.’  Same as above with variegated foliage and lovely white flat oat-like seed heads. 


CORTADERIA, Pampas Grass.

selloana ‘Pumilla.’  Showy, medium-sized, silvery plumes appear in late summer.  Wonderful in dried flower arrangements.  One of the most cold hardy Pampas Grasses there is.  Height 4-5’.


DESCHAMPSIA, Tufted Hair Grass.  Tolerant of more shade than most grasses.  Tufted foliage is topped with very fine, air panicles.

caespitosa ‘Northern Lights.’  Cream variegated foliage is tinged purplish-pink, very tall and open panicles appear in mid summer.  Forms medium height clumps of tufted green foliage with very fine airy panicles.  Prefers full sun to part shade and grows to 24”.

caespitosa ‘Shottland.’  Medium height, rounded clumps of tufted green foliage, tall fine airy panicles bloom mid-summer and sway in the breeze.  Grows 36 to 38 inches tall and wide.


ERIANTHUS, Plume Grass.  Sun. 

ravennae.  9-12'; arching green leaves with white stripe down the middle; silvery-gray plumes in fall; lovely fall color; a striking specimen.


ERIPHORUM angustifolium, Cotton Grass.  Deep green grass-like blades are topped with a soft cotton tuft in summer.  Perfect for pond’s edge.  Prefers water depth of 1”. 


FESTUCA, Blue Fescue.  Sun.

glauca ‘Boulder Blue.’  Some say this is the bluest of all!  Short, compact mounds of metallic blue. Very drought tolerant.  10”.
ovina glauca ‘Elijah Blue.’  10"; silvery-blue blades; color holds up well throughout the summer; one of the nicest blues.


HAKONECHOLOA, Japanese Forest Grass.  Partial shade; excellent with blue Hosta.

macra ‘Albo Striata.  For the first time, this rare, white striped form to the beautiful forest grass is offered. Broad leaves cascade over rocks and are superb by pathways. Performs best in partial shade. 1-2’.

macra ‘All Gold.’  A brilliant grass that absolutely glows in the shade! A vigorous grower, it tends to be more chartreuse in heavier shade, and brighter gold in more sun. Plant it where it can cascade down slopes, drape over rocks, crawl over the edges of walls, at the front of the garden, or even in containers. Fantastic combined with blue Hostas and other dark leaved plants. Tiny, inconspicuous reddish brown flower spiklets appear in airy clusters from late summer thru early fall. Grows 14" tall and 18-24" wide. Shade to part shade.

macra ‘Aureola.’  The Perennial Plant Association has awarded the title of 2009 Perennial Plant of the Year to Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola.’ This ornamental grass is native to Honshu Island, Japan. The genus derives its name from Hakon , a region in Japan, and chloa , the Greek word for grass. Individual blades are 1/2” wide and bright yellow color with very thin green stripes. In the cooler days of autumn the golden foliage becomes tinged with shades of pink and red.  Hakonechloa's  bright gold foliage shines in dark corners of the garden, and at night.  It's cascading blades sway beautifully in the breeze, creating a soothing, peaceful landscape.  Wonderful as a ground cover, specimen, or in a patio container, Hakonechloa grows 12-18" tall, prefers partial shade and rich soil.

 macra ‘Naomi.’  A new French introduction, leafing out in spring with billowy, long, slender, pointed foliage of creamy yellow an soft sage-green.  Fall colors is rich purple.  Grows 9 to 18 inches tall and wide.  Grow in full shade in moist soil.

m. ‘Nicolas.’  Lovely ornamental grass for the shade.  Solid green foliage in summer with brilliant orange and red fall color.  Perfect in combination containers.  Height 8-10”.

m. ‘Stripe it Rich.’  These white-striped golden leaves create a new spin on the Japanese Forest Grass. Spectacular as a woodland accent, in containers or along pathways. Height 10-16”.


IMPERATA, Japanese Blood Grass.  Sun/part shade.

 cylindrica ‘Red Baron.’  18"; bold red from mid blades to tip; color intensifies towards late summer and fall; striking plant.


JUNCUS, Rush.  Sun/part shade. Likes moist soil.

effusus, Corkscrew RushA grass-like plant with heavily spiraled 24” stems.  Tiny yellowish-green to tan flowers appear in compact clusters in summer.  Prefers very wet soil.

e. ‘Big Twister.’  Large spiraling foliage, resembling giant corkscrews twisting and turning creating a dramatic effect.  Reaches 18 to 24 inches tall and wide.  Prefers very moist to wet conditions in full sun to part shade.  Cut back in late winter early spring.

e. spiralis.  Dark green leaves curl like a corkscrew; prefers a moist area; great conversation piece.

e. spiralis ‘Frenzy.’ Variegated Corkscrew Rush.  A variegated corkscrew rush, more compact, reaching only 6 to 8 inches tall and wide.  Leaves are tightly curled and loosen with maturity.  Yellow and green variegation with pink stripes.  Perfect to mix in containers.

ensifolius, Broad Leaf Rush.  A short grass-like plant with interesting late summer seedheads.  Perfect for water’s edge.

inflexus ‘Lovesick Blues.’  Spiky steel blue leaves radiate from a central crown. Forms a weeping, rounded mound.  Moisture loving.  Can be grown as a shallow water plant.  Grow in full sun to part shade in moist soil.  Deer resistant.  Native cultivar.


MISCANTHUS, Eulalia or Maiden Grass.  Sun; good cut flower.

sinensis ‘Adagio.’  At last, a really superb dwarf maiden grass; flowers emerge pink, becoming white; 2’, 4’ in bloom. Designated a Missouri Botanical Garden “Plant of Merit” for its outstanding qualities.

s. ‘Autumn Light.’  Good yellow fall color. Very hardy and vigorous. 3-4’.

s. ‘Cabaret.’  Very wide, ribbon like foliage with a creamy-white center.  9’.

s. ‘Cosmopolitan.’  3-4’. Very upright plant with wide striped leaves. Some consider this the best variegated Miscanthus.

s. ‘Dixieland.’  Compact plant with varietated foliage and pink tinged plumes.  4’.

s. ‘Flamingo.’  An early flowering variety with reddish/white pendulous blooms that move in the slightest breeze.  Flowers face upwards and then droop gracefully.  Grows to 5 feet tall and 3 ft wide.  Grow in full sun in average soil. 

s. ‘Far East,’ ‘Ferner Osten,’ Compact Maiden Grass.  Reddish flowers in fall top dark foliage with bright silver midrib.  Compact grower to 5’.

S. ‘Gold Bar.’  The best dwarf, horizontally variegated grass available.  Twice the variegation of ‘Little Zebra’.  Short and quick to clump up, reaching only 16”-20” tall.  Erect and strong habit.

s. ‘Gracillimus.’ 4-5'; upright, arching stalks with feathery creamy flowers in September; a graceful beauty; moisture tolerant.

s. ‘Huron Sunrise.’  Most profuse blooming of any Miscanthus we grow. Martin Quinn from Canada has been working with ornamental grasses for over 25 years had has made this first rate selection. Foliage is a medium width with a natural silver line (midrib). The outstanding characteristic is the burgundy/red inflorescences in late August and early September. Upright arching form. Good winter interest. Holds leaves during the winter. Excellent large flowers! Foliage is between 4-5’, 5-6’ in flower. Sun.

s. ‘Little Dot,’ ‘Punktchen.’  Narrow leaves with checkered foliage. Tall plumes. 3’.

s. ‘Little Kitten’: A true compact Miscanthus! Fine green foliage with pink flowers. 36”.

s. ‘Little Zebra.’  Green leaves with horizontal yellow bands. Coloring holds all season. Flowers reliably in late summer with red-purple plumes. 36”.

s. ‘Morning Light.’  4'; arching leaves are edged with silver; red-bronze plumes give a striking effect; drought tolerant.

s. ‘Nippon.’  Excellent dwarf with slender foliage well separated from flowers.  Blooms late June into fall.  4-5’.

s. ‘Strictus.’  6-8'; blades have a distinctive gold horizontal band; stiff and upright; a striking specimen.

s. ‘Superstripe.’  Thick gold bands are prevalent on the wide blades of this grass the moment they emerge from the ground.  This small, clumping mound is an outstanding specimen for the front of a border.  Compact, reaching only 2’-4’ tall and wide.  Z6.

s. ‘Variegatus.’  6-7'; graceful upright clumps; silvery green foliage edged pure white; pinkish panicles in mid-summer fading to tan; drought tolerant; lovely in winter.


OPHIOPOGON, Mondo Grass.  Best in part shade.

planiscapus ‘Ebony Knight’.’ A grass like perennial with dense, purplish black foliage.  Evergreen.  Black berries are produced amoung the foliage.  Slow grower, to 6 inches tall.  Spreads.  Grow in full sun to part shade.

p. (nigrescens) ‘Niger,’ Black Mondo Grass.  Distinctive, very purple dark foliage to 6”.  


ORYZOPSIS (ACHNATHERUM) hymenoides.  Indian Rice Grass.  Cool season clumper is an excellent choice for hot dry sites in sandy or average, well-drained full sun conditions.  Historically important American food grain makes an impressive fine textured 2’ tall grass feature with its showy open panicles in spring.


PANICUM, Switch Grass: sun; flowers late summer.

virgatum Cheyenne Sky’ Red Switch Grass.  What we’ve all been waiting for, a hardy red bladed grass.  Absolutely ideal for growing in decorative containers and gardens where it’s deep crimson foliage makes a dynamite specimen, or when planted en masse a dazzling display.  Measuring in at 2’ before blooming, ‘Cheyenne Sky’ forms a tight, vase shaped clump of blue-green foliage that begins turning wine red in early summer.  Matching ruby red flower panicles top the colorful foliage.  Measures 3’ in flower.

v. 'Dust Devil.' Has all the great characteristics of the taller varieties, but only 4'. Tips of the blue-green foliage become flushed with a hint of deep purplish red in fall. Wine purple flower panicles. Forms a strictly upright, dense clump.

v. ‘Prairie Sky’: 5’; strongly upright, unusually durable ornamental grass; remarkable powder-blue foliage turns yellow in fall; airy clouds of flowers remain throughout winter; thrives in any soil. Found in a Wisconsin meadow. Much better than ‘Heavy Metal’.

v. ‘Shenandoah’: US native with bright red foliage starting in June. Grows in clumps to 3’ tall in full sun. In the late summer and early fall, red long lasting flowers bloom above the foliage.


PENNISETUM, Fountain Grass.  Sun, large showy flowers appear in early summer and persist through fall. Great mounding habit.  


alopecuroides.  3-4'; clumps of narrow, graceful arching leaves; dark rose flowers; foliage turns golden-brown in fall; attractive seed heads.

alopecuroides ‘Hameln,’ Dwarf Fountain Grass.  18-24"; dwarf form of fountain grass; pearly white flowers.

a. 'Burgundy Bunny.' A great miniature Fountain Grass that shows some red color in summer followed by all-over blazing red color in the fall until frost. Perfect in containers, front of the border, or as a low grass ground cover. Fluffy cream flowers appear in summer. Grows 12-16" tall and wide.

a. 'Desert Plains.' Green leaves form an upright vase that transforms to shades of deep red, orange and gold in late summer and fall. Showy 5" long, tan bottlebrush plumes arch above the foliage. Improved habit, flowering performance, and fall color compared to 'Hameln.' Grows to 4'.

a. ‘Red Head.’  Deep burgundy buds and young plumes sets this Fountain Grass apart.  Blooms early than other cultivars.  Grows 3-4’. 


‘Little Bunny.’  A really dwarf form of the spieces that grows 18” tall with 2” flower heads.

‘Little Honey.’ A variegated sport of P. ‘Little Bunny’ with tiny narrow leaves and miniature flower heads resembling bottlebrushes. 6-12”.


orientale ‘Karly Rose.’  Deep green blades erupt into intense smoky rose-purple flowers. Long blooming.


setaceum ‘Rubrum’, Purple Fountain Grass.  Deep red foliage topped by dramatic purple/red plumes. Not hardy.

s. ‘Fireworks’, Variegated Purple Fountain Grass.  Burgundy center is flanked by hot pink margins. Height 24”. A refreshing look to an old time favorite!


PHALARIS, Ribbon Grass.  Sun/partial shade; blooms early summer.

arundinaceae ‘Strawberries and Cream’: 18-24"; striped green and white blades that is flushed with pink in cool weather. Aggressive groundcover.


PLEIOBLASTUS fortunei variegate, Variegated Bamboo. Variegated white foliage on 1-2’ plant.  Sun or shade.  Excellent ground cover.


SCHIZACHYRIUM, Little Blue Stem.  Sun; variety of leaf colors, blue and green hues turning a striking bright red in fall; seed heads are fluffy silvery, white; tolerant of dry soils; 2-3’.

scoparium ‘Prairie Blues.’  A very blue selection of the species.


SCIRPUS, Rush.  Large grasses for water’s edge.  Summer blooming.


lacustris, Bull RushLarge 4-5’ handsome erect stems.


zebrinus, Zebra Rush.  Exotic 4-6’ stems with horizontal white stripes.  Remove plain green stems to ensure variegated form.


SPOROBOLUS heterolepis, Prairie Drop Seed.  2’ narrow-leafed, fragrant native grass.  Incredibly attractive in bloom and seed.  2003 GreatPlants designee. 


Perennial Common Name Cross Reference Guide