Ornamental Grass


I live in Pickering by Lake Ontario and want to plant ornamental grass. The area faces south. I would like something between 2-4 ft. I’m partial to the grass that has the lovely colorful feathery flowers in the fall.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. Most ornamental grasses require full sun and well-draining soil. It’s good that you have a southern exposure – does it get direct sun at least 6 hours daily ? Soil type is also important. If your soil is clay, you will need to improve its texture and structure to get the good drainage needed for ornamental grasses, by adding a couple of inches of organic matter, such as compost or wood mulch.

There are many ornamental grasses to choose from, however many, especially those of Asian origin, are invasive and not recommended. In particular, Miscanthus grasses have been very popular, and I think this might be grass that you are referring to, with ‘lovely colourful feathery flowers in the fall’. You can read more about Miscanthus on the Toronto Master Gardeners  website under the heading ‘Invasive Species Initiative’ (click on Miscanthus). This site also suggests some alternatives to Miscanthus. Here is a link :

Toronto Master Gardeners Invasive Species Initiative


Here are some links with information about native (non-invasive) grasses that you might want to consider :

Grow Me Instead

Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority – Ornamental Grasses

North American Native Plant Society(click on Growing Native Plants, then Native Plant Database, then All Plant Types and select Grasses and Sedges)


Here is a website with general information about ornamental grasses. It includes different types, some of which are invasive in Ontario, as noted in the first two links above.

Ornamental Grasses – University of Illinois Extension


Good luck with your search for the best ornamental grass for your garden !

Nov 23, 2021