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Last updated on March 19th, 2021

If you want to grow ornamental grasses in your garden but you simply don’t have space or the soil necessary you can always grow evergreen grasses for containers. By growing popular evergreen grasses in a container you are able to control the proliferation and potential invasiveness of certain varieties while enjoying everything that ornamental grasses have to offer. If you have a small patio, balcony or just fancy planting some grasses in containers in a shady spot then below are our top 8 evergreen ornamental grasses for pots starting with one our top favourites, Carex Evergold.

1. Carex oshimensis Evergold

The Evergold Japanese Sedge gets its name from the colourful golden strip that fills the centre of each blade of grass, bordered by rich green.

This variety of Carex gets its name from the ever golden centres the leaves provide. The natural colours of the plant bring a golden yellow line up the centre of leave leaf edged in green. This variegated grass is known for growth in shadier areas where it will produce arching, ornamental foliage. Leaves are long and narrow and the plant itself grows in mounds that get as tall as they do wide. This is a brilliant choice for growing in container and pots as it only gets to around 30cm tall and provides the all-year-round colour.

Looking for more grasses to grow in shade? read our article where we list 10 of our favourite grasses for planting in shade

2. Ficinia truncata ‘Ice Crystal’

This smaller ornamental grass stays small, and at full maturity spans no more than 30cm in height and spread, making it easily contained in pots of any kind. It is an evergreen perennial that produces recurved hunter green leaves lined with white margins responsible for the frosty look for which it is named.

This frosty sedge as it is also known gets its name from the forested perimeter of each leaf. An evergreen, it is quite small and perfect for the smaller gardens, reaching no more than 30cm in height and spread. It does well with full sun or partial shade and is tolerant of sea winds, making it great for coastal gardens. This new variety is a little tender so is best kept inside a greenhouse overwinter in the coldest areas of the UK, this is where growing it in pots gives you a huge advantage but if you live in the milder areas of the UK then it should be find grown outdoors all year round.

3. Festuca glauca Intense Blue (Blue fescue)

The final option for your coastal garden is a type of ornamental grass called Festuca Glauca which spreads approximately 30cm and reaches heights of only 40cm. It grows very easily in dry or medium soil that is well-drained. It prefers full sunlight which will produce the best foliage but is tolerant of shade.

Festuca ‘Intense blue’ gets its name from the intense blue colour the leaves take on. An ornamental grass that produces silver-blue foliage, it is quite a drought tolerant once it gets established making it low maintenance and a low water plant for your home which makes it easier to grow in pots. It is deer resistant which may be useful for some and, like most grasses, has no issues with pests or diseases. A great choice for growing in pots for all year round colour.

Read our article on growing ornamental grasses for some tips and tricks

4. Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’ (Dwarf pampas grass)

Otherwise known as pampas grass, this delightful ornamental grass is perfect for mid-sized gardens but it does need plenty of space and makes an eye-catching focal point in the garden.

Nearly everyone has heard of pampas grass and most varieties grow far too large for containers but this dwarf pampas grass is a must-have for any container or pot. It is compact, but still gives off the magnificent arching leaves topped with the stunning cream white plumes of soft tips. Once established it requires next to no maintenance. It is a showy plant which reaches between 120-180cm in height and between 90-120cm in spread but you can contain that if you are growing in pots. It prefers full sun or light shade and well-drained compost. 

5. Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ (Black mondo grass)

Give your garden something different with mondo grass, a black perennial grass with foliage that will stand apart against a backdrop of otherwise green/yellow colours in your garden. When grown in sunny locations it will produce rich, black foliage and light pink flowers in summer which are a feature in themselves.

Commonly known as black mondo grass, this grass-like perennial is actually part of the lily family and will grow in spreading clumps at a somewhat slower rate. At maturity, it will span 20-30cms in height and spread. The stemless plant grows deep green basal leaves that look black in the summertime. The arch and produce bell-shaped flowers that start off white and get tinted with pink or lilac in summer. These flowers get dark purple berries, so there is something to admire all season long.  Being one of the smaller grasses it makes a great choice for growing in pots and containers.

6. Stipa tenuissima Pony Tails (Mexican feather grass)

Mexican feather grass, as it’s commonly known, grows in graceful tufts of thread-like leaves. These leaves are often seen dancing in the wind, moving about with even the slightest of provocation. Throughout summer the top of the silvery green leaves brings feathery panicles that are often dried and used in floral arrangements. Grows well in full sun in both sheltered and exposed sites.

Another wonderful ornamental grass perfect for growing in containers, the Pony Tails variety of Mexican Feather Grass will grow in dense clumps that reach between 30cm and 60cm in spread and height. They love full sunlight and when grown, will provide a translucent appearance which moves gracefully in the wind. The plant produces thread-thin leaves that are silver and green with summertime feather tipped panicles begging to be touched. Like all ornamental grasses, these are pest and disease-free. 

7. Carex oshimensis ‘Everlite’ 

The Everlite sedge gets its name from the seemingly nonstop light that appears to bounce right off the leaves. In reality, the centre of each long, arching leaf is filled with a bright white, cream colour juxtaposed by the green perimeter. Stunning, this ornamental grass gives vibrancy, colour all year round and only growing to around 30cm making it the perfect companion plant for pots or containers filled with other plants. That’s being said it also looks stunning planted on its own too. 

8. Carex buchananii (Leatherleaf sedge)

The leatherleaf sedge as it is also known, this stunning ornamental grass has narrow evergreen foliage that offers a unique copper colour. It will stand erect when planted, eventually arching over time.

A native to New Zealand, this leatherleaf sedge gets its name from the leathery like quality and colour of the leaves. Rather than growing nothing but green, you can grow a copper/bronze collection of ornamental grasses by integrating this beauty into your garden. It does well in containers, but can be used in coastal gardens or as borders. It grows in clumps and reaches 75cm maximum in height and spread so also looks amazing in taller pots. Best planted in full sun or partial shade in a sheltered position.

No matter the variety you pick, any of these eight ornamental evergreen grasses for containers will be easy to grow and maintain, require very little care from you, and give you all of the aesthetic appeal that ornamental grasses have to offer.

Last update on 2021-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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