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Ornamental Grasses

Q.Karl Foerster Grass?

Zone Linton, ND | Anonymous added on July 4, 2020 | Answered

Will this type of ornamental grass come back year after year if it is in a decorative, metal holder? We have two plants and they are on the south side of our garage. They were planted inside a cut-off top from an old cream can. Will this affect its return each year?

I’ve attached a photo that is similar to our display. There is gravel around the can. The can is only submerged 2-3 inches into the gravel to keep it in place. The cans are in front of the fence basically.

If this grass is not suitable for my need, could you please recommend a new type before I purchase this ornamental grass for a third time? Thank you kindly.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on July 5, 2020

This grass is a perennial and should come back each year. If you've had to replant in these containers, there's definitely something about them that's not agreeing with it. I suspect it is a lack of drainage. Could you drill holes in the bottom of that container?

Here's a link that lists articles about several different types of similar grasses and does include an article about the Karl Foerster grass.

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Answered on July 4, 2020

This grass is only hardy through zone 5 so it will not survive North Dakota winters, especially in a container that is mostly above ground. When a plant is above ground, winter hardiness suffers. The root mass freezes and the plant is at risk of dehydration from dry, winter winds. Container plants require light watering about every 6 weeks, protection from wind and from sun hitting the roots. Freeze and thaw cycles are damaging - another reason above ground plants die in winter. Rigid foam insulation can be made into a sort of igloo but leave the top open. Or cover the entire plant and container in burlap. There are a number of grasses that should survive in ND. Here is a list: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/gardening-by-zone/zone-3/growing-grass-in-cold-climates.htm

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