10 Best Low Growing Ornamental Grasses (With Photos)

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Are you looking to give your garden space a makeover? We have you covered with some of the most common low growing ornamental grasses.

Ornamental grasses can add movement and variation and beautify your borders, raised beds, and garden landscapes. Huge clumps of ornamental grasses are great; however, several low growing decorative grass types can add value and beautify your garden space.

These low growing varieties come in different forms, textures, and colors and are easy to grow and maintain. Therefore, only look beyond low growing grasses to create a ground cover for your garden design.

These grasses add texture and design to your space even with low maintenance, whether beside beds or in planters.

Let’s quickly learn more about these grasses!

Best Low Growing Ornamental Grasses

Interestingly, these grasses highly resist pests and diseases that other less hardy plants are easily susceptible to, and they are perfect in a garden border.

That said, below are the best low growing ornamental grasses that you should consider having in your home:

1. Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon spp.)

It is called a Dwarf Mondo grass because it is a low growing ornamental grass that produces thick tufts of arched, strap-shaped, green leaves. It is most notable for its small size but grows gorgeous evergreen leaves.

This variety can grow up to 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) tall and has bright green leaves with blue flowers in the summer.

Meanwhile, the mondo grass specie is a Japanese plant that marvels gardeners all over the world with its beautiful appearance and shape. With age, the mondo grass becomes a low-maintenance, no-mow grass that can survive under moderate to heavy foot traffic. 

This stunning low growing specie will thrive in full sun to partial shade conditions and is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9 with well-drained soil.

It is suitable for beds and borders, groundcover edging, and shrub under-planting. It also looks excellent in the city, seaside, and gravel gardens and can resist deer and rabbits.

2. Japanese Sedge (Carex morrowii)

It is called Japanese sedge because it is primarily native to central and southern Japan. This low growing grass is one of the most famous, providing appealing stunning short grass that is easy to grow.

It has a low-growth nature and is a clumping species featuring arching, variegated foliage. 

The Japanese sedge grows primarily in tufts featuring flat, dark green leaves for beautiful ornamental grass landscaping with blades that can reach up to one foot tall and extends to their full size after a few years.

It is low-maintenance specie and is resistant to deer and pest damage. You can prune and divide it during spring to maintain a good shape.

Meanwhile, to get the best from your plant, you must provide it with moist soil and full sun to partial shade. The Japanese sedge will thrive if you grow it under trees and shrubs and are perfect when you grow it next to ponds and water gardens.

It is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9 and doesn’t require pruning but helps improve the foliage’s overall appearance.

3. Sweet Flag ‘Ogon’ (Acorus gramineus)

Sweet flag is a common name for one of the most popular low growing ornamental grass with unique sword-shaped leaves. These leaves come in yellow and are complemented by the lush green of the variegated stripes that line them.

Acorus gramineus, as scientifically called, is a semi-green grass with vibrant color for most of the year. Its color will stay attractive deep into the autumn before the color starts diminishing, at which time you can prune it back to enhance more growth the following year.

In USDA zones 6 to 9, the low growing sweet flag stands at 0.3 m and, unlike most other grasses, enjoys soggy soil types with poor drainage.

This distinct feature makes it a perfect addition to a nearby pond, fountain, or other water feature. Its foliage can lighten up shady spots of the garden that don’t receive much in the way of sunlight.

4. Magellan Rye Grass (Elymus magellanicus)

The Magellan ryegrass is a low growing ornamental grass with metallic blue leaves with a silver hue, making it the bluest of every bluegrass. Native to South America, you can find plenty of this specie around the colder climes of southern Chile and Argentina.

Because of this cold climate, it can tolerate the vagaries of the Great British weather even though it will not thrive in the extremes of a summer heatwave or a winter frost.

In zones 6 to 9, this specie can reach 0.6 meters tall and enjoy a milder year-round temperature. Meanwhile, the best time to divide this plant, if necessary, is in the spring.

If you want your plant to yield an optimum result, like producing evergreen color, you must provide it with the conditions it requires, even though it will show signs of fading during the winter.

In this case, it would be best to prune back severely during the spring, after which it will gradually recover but reliably, requiring low maintenance.

5. Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

It is called the Japanese forest grass because it originates from the rocky cliffs of Hanshu, Japan. It is a gorgeous ground cover featuring tiny stems and glittering foliage, while some tend to change their color to pink in colder climates.

In USDA zones 5 to 9, this plant functions appropriately as a border plant for shady zones.

Scientifically called Hakonechloa macra, the Japanese forest grass does best in well-draining soil. This plant has a slow growth rate in loose, delicate mounds and can only reach 1 foot tall.

Even though it thrives in shady spots, it can also tolerate full sun, especially in colder zones. Water this plant once a week whenever temperatures rise in spring or summer.

6. Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

Blue-eyed grass is one of the most common low growing ornamental plants that can reach up to 12 to 18 inches (31 to 46 cm) tall. It comes with dark green color but produces dainty blue, purple, or white blooms during late spring or early summer.

In USDA zones 4 to 9, the Sisyrinchium angustifolium thrives in partial shade to full sun and prefers moist, well-drained soil. This low growing grass is perfect for containers or rock gardens and draws butterflies.

7. Monkey Grass ‘Variegated Liriope’ (Liriope Spp.)

Also called monkey grass, the variegated liriope is a deer-resistant low growing ornamental grass that comes in dark green but features vibrant yellow stripes. It can only grow up to 9 to 15 inches (23 to 38 cm).

The variegated liriope draws hummingbirds to the area, and its flowers are clusters of blue and white blooms during the summer. In USDA zones 5 to 10, the monkey grass thrives in well-drained soil and prefers deep shade to full sun.

8. Hameln Fountain Grass

Hameln fountain grass is another popular low growing ornamental plant with tan seed heads, which changes to pink during the fall for a whimsical touch close to your shrubs and flowers.

It will also do well in containers, which can be perfect vessels for fountain-like arching blades.

In USDA zones 4 to 11, hameln fountain grass does best in full sun and occasionally requires water during warm weather. Again, it is a deer-resistant plant but attracts birds; hence, you’ll draw pollinators if you don’t bring in critters that consume your plants.

9. Red Baron (Imperata cylindrica)

It is commonly called red baron because of its brilliant scarlet spikes, which makes it one of the most beautiful low growing ornamental grasses on our itinerary. In USDA zones 4 to 9, the red baron grass can only grow up to 0.5 meters tall.

The foliage has a red color that turns to mellow green at its roots, and the whole leaf changes slightly translucent with maturity. 

Because of its stunning appearance, it is a great option to add vibrancy to borders and as a companion plant with identical ostentatious grasses and shrubs.

The Imperata cylindrica, as scientifically called, is a hardy little critter that can easily tolerate most types of soil but for the most vibrant colors that pop.

Growing these plants in moist soil with a high humus count in complete view of the sun’s rays would be best.

It will also thrive in a pot or container or even as a companion to other three or four different plants of the same genus, which will help produce more stunning looks.

10. Elijah Blue Fescue ‘Blaufuchs’ (Festuca glauca)

Commonly known as Elijah Blue Fescue, the Festuca glauca is a unique low-growing ornamental grass that stays small yet popular. It comes with icy, blue-green foliage that bears flowers featuring pastel yellow roses.

Elijah blue fescue has become an ornamental favorite of many gardeners primarily because of its unique textures and versatility as a companion plant.

Meanwhile, this stunning smallish specie is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8, growing around 9 to 12 inches in height and 6 to 9 inches wide.

However, for your Festuca glauca to generate maximum results, you must ensure you grow it in well-draining soil, even though it can survive any poor soil. Also, ensure you grow it in an area of your garden with plenty of sun to help accentuate its foliage color.

Remember to give each clump of grass up to 10 inches of spacing to enhance freedom for growth.


Are you considering growing dwarf ornamental grass with little watering or trimming? The low growing ornamental grasses above are the perfect low-maintenance plant for you. Use them as a ground cover to occupy space and add texture without hassle.

They will also thrive in containers in small spaces. Just choose among the varieties above and brighten your garden areas. Happy Gardening!!!