Aristada junciformis is a handsome, very hardy, thick tufted grass with copious wispy seed heads that sway beautifully in the wind.
The seeds persist on the plant for an extended period from November. to May, and the culms are slow to yellow with the onset of winter, making this a good landscape grass.
A particularly good species for providing habitat for Vlei Rats and other grassland or wetland wildlife. Will grow well in wet, clay soil, as well as under normal garden conditions.
It is also well utilized in the making of brooms.
Size up to 60cm
Andropogon eucomis is a very hardy, small upright growing grass with bright green foliage that is concentrated at the base of the plant.
The glistening white seed heads are borne at the tip of reddish stems from November to May.
This widespread grass is ornamental and easy to manage in the garden.
Chloris gayana is a hardy, evergreen very leafy tufted perennial grass.
It has finger-like (digitate) flowering heads from November to May.
Melinis repens is a hardy, tufted, weakly perennial grass with greyish green leaves.It has beautiful plumes of hairy, pink flowers that become pale, almost white as they mature. Flowers and seeds from September to June.
This is the grass you see along the roads shining in the sun. It generally grows in disturbed areas, regardless of soil type.It is a good soil stabiliser interplanted with other perennial grasses or groundcovers.
The seeds attract seed eating birds.
Plant in sun or semi-shade.
Cenchrus ciliaris is a tufted, shrubby perennial grass with bright green to blue-green leaves that are up to a metre long.
The grass culms are jointed, and roots often arise at these joints or nodes.
The flower spikes are bristly and cat-tail like, carried on stalks just above the leaves.
Melinis nerviglumis is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, dense, tufted, perennial grass with beautiful grey leaves.
The gorgeous plumes of shiny fluffy pink to red seeds appear all year round and attract small seed eating birds.
It makes an attractive addition to a grassland garden planted in sun or semi-shade.
Planted en masse, with the sun shining on the fluffy spikes, they are a wonderful sight.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade, in well drained soil. As with all grasses it should be cut back in late winter and raked to keep it healthy.
Size 35 to 80cm
Pogonarthria squarrosa is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, tufted perennial grass. The short brown racemes of flowers curve upwards, making a herringbone pattern, thus the common name.
The flowers are borne from November to May and attract small seed eating birds. Plant in groups to get the full effect of the flowers and seed heads.
A beautiful garden plant that should be pruned down to about 5cm above ground level and raked every year in late winter.
It makes an attractive addition to a grassland garden, and as it is not a very robust grass, it lends itself to being planted in between wildflowers. Plant in sun or semi-shade, in well drained soil.
Size 30 to 50 cm
Eragrostis capensis is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, densely-tufted, small perennial grass.
Setaria megaphylla is a hardy, evergreen, shade- and moisture-loving grass that has beautiful, broad, bright-green, ribbed leaves.
Long spikes of brown seeds follow the dainty flowers that are borne from September to June.
Themeda triandra is a very hardy, evergreen, tall, tufted grass with foliage in many shades of green that turn reddish when older.
The pendulous, purple-red flower spikes are most attractive from September to June. The seeds that follow are also a beautiful feature of this grass.
In nature, the presence of this grass signifies climax grassland that is in good condition.
Eragrostis gummiflua is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, perennial grass with sparse, hard, tough leaves.
It bears attractive, large racemes of pink to purple flowers and seeds on stiff branches from November to May.
Parts of this grass are quite sticky, hence the common name.
Plant in a meadow garden where its attractive seed-heads add texture. It is quite unpalatable to grazers. This hard grass is used to make durable brooms.
As with all grasses, to keep it healthy, it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils. Water well to keep it looking its best.
Size: Flowering stem up to 90cm
Eragrostis superba is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, perennial grass that has attractive, bright-green leaves, mostly concentrated at the base of the tuft.
It flowers from September to May and has a spikelet of beautiful, large, golden, heart-shaped seeds.
An attractive garden subject.
As with all grasses, to keep it healthy, it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. Plant in sun or semi-shade. It grows in moist areas and will tolerate most soil types.
Size: 35 to 40cm
Aristida congesta subsp. barbicollisis a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, delicate, perennial, tufted grass with long, white hairs where the leaf meets the stem.
It bears delicate, twisted spikelets at the tips of branches from October to May.
This tough, pioneer grass can be used to stabilise soil or cover bare patches to protect the soil. It is pretty planted amongst flowering plants in a meadow garden or in a grassland garden.
As with all grasses it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. It is unfussy about the soil type it is planted in, and will thrive in all but waterlogged soils in sun or semi-shade.
Size: Flowering stem up to 80cm
Miscanthus capensisis a very hardy, evergreen, clump-forming, large grass that has beautiful autumn colours.
The flowering stalks are topped with plumes of pink seed-heads in late summer and early autumn. The clumps of leaves are about 1m tall and the flowering stalks are up to 2m tall.
Weavers choose this grass above other plants for nesting material. They use the leaves to weave the nest and the seed to line it.
Use as a backdrop to a garden bed or as a screening plant in narrow beds. It is effective planted as a single, sculptural, feature plant in a garden. Plant into window-box type containers where they can be used as a screen on a balcony. This tall grass is beautiful moving in the lightest of breezes in the garden.
As with all grasses, to keep it healthy, it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. Plant in sun or semi-shade in damp or normal garden conditions.
Size: Flowering stem up to 2m
Hyparrhenia tamba is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, impressive, tall grass with blue, almost turquoise, leaves and thick stems.
They also display beautiful colours of yellow and red as they mature, when planted in full sun. The tangled flower- and seed-heads also have a turquoise hue and are borne from January to June.
Plant in containers, or as a backdrop to a grassland garden. It is beautiful planted in pots as a screen on balcony gardens or in small gardens. It is also useful as a soil stabilizer, especially in damp areas.
Plant in sun or light semi-shade areas. This grass should be cut back every two or three years and raked to remove the thatch.
Size: 2 to 2.5m
Harpochloa falx is a hardy, perennial, evergreen tufted grass.
From September to April the inflorescence stalks bear flattened spikelets that carry two rows of densely packed flowers that curl as they dry out and form seeds.
In the garden it is a beautiful addition to a short grassland garden that gets sufficient water. Provides a soft contrast to bold plants such as Aloes, Crinums, Blue Squill, Gladiolus sp and Red Hot Pokers. The young grass is palatable to grazers. The inflorescences are sometimes used as a cut flower.
Plant in full sun.
Size: Up to 75cm
Andropogon huilense is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, moisture-loving, perennial, tufted grass. It has a reed-like appearance and leaves that have a prominent, white mid-rib.
From September to June it bears a tall, flowering stalk topped with beautiful, silvery-white, feathery flowers and seed-heads that glisten in the sunlight.
It is the host plant of the Dark Small-branded Swift butterfly. The fluffy seed-heads are a sought-after nesting material for birds.
This grass is tall but does not have a huge tuft, making it ideal for smaller gardens. It makes a beautiful backdrop as it sways in the lightest of breezes and the flowers sparkle and add movement to the garden. Plant in a grassland garden, around ponds and along streams to great effect.
As with all grasses it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. Requires sun or semi-shade and sufficient water.
Size: Flowering stem up to 1.9m
Miscanthus junceus is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, tall, water related grass.
This tall elegant grass forms large tufts.
It bears long elegant flower heads of tiny brown flowers from February to June.
It can be used to stabilise stream banks, plant on the edge or even in a pond, use as a feature plant in the garden or a container but it does require regular watering to keep it looking its best. It can also be used to help purify water.
As with all grass cut back at the end of winter to keep it looking its best. Plant in well-drained in full sun.
Size 1 to 1.5m
Setaria sphacelata var. sericea is a hardy, evergreen, beautiful, neatly-tufted grass.
It bears dense, golden inflorescences of hairy flowers from October to May that look like miniature bulrushes.
It attracts birds to the garden and is the host plant of various butterfly species.
Although this is a tall grass, it is neat and narrow and does not go wild.
It makes a lovely form plant and can be planted in a grassland garden, as a backdrop to a colourful bed or mass-plant for a beautiful effect.
As with most grasses, it should be cut back once a year and the thatch removed.
It grows in sun or semi-shade, and needs regular watering.
Size: 70cm to 1.2m
Andropogon appendiculatus is a beautiful tufted grass This hardy grass has beautiful colours of red, green, and bronze at this time of year. The summer-borne flowers are almost purple.
This grass looks great all year round and can be used in a grassland garden or in a mixed border as it is not aggressive.
But, as with all grasses, it does need to be pruned back and cleaned at the end of winter.
Plant in sun or semi-shade and water regularly.