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8 Must have evergreen grasses for containers and pots

Last updated on March 20th, 2022

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If you want to grow ornamental grasses in your garden but simply don’t have the space or the soil necessary, you can always have the option to grow evergreen grasses in pots and planters. 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, below are our top eight evergreen ornamental kinds of grass for pots, starting with one of our top favourites, the 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 the leaves that are edged in green. This variegated grass is known for its ability to grow happily in shadier areas, where it will produce arching ornamental foliage. The 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 containers and pots because it only reaches approximately 30cm tall and provides the all-year-round colour.

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Are you looking for more grasses to grow in the shade? Read our article here 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 frosted perimeter of each leaf. An evergreen that 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, and this is where growing it in pots gives you a huge advantage, however, 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.

The 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 drought tolerant once it is fully established, making it low maintenance and much easier than some other plants 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 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, however, 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 and still produces the magnificent arching leaves topped with the stunning cream-white plumes with soft tips. Once fully established it requires next to no maintenance. It is a showy plant that reaches between 120-180cm in height and between 90-120cm in spread, but you can contain this if you are growing them 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 20-30cm in height and spread. The stemless plant grows deep green basal leaves that look black in the summer. The arch produces 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 that is 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 that moves gracefully in the wind. The plant produces thread-thin leaves that are silver and green with 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 alongside the green perimeter. Stunning, this ornamental grass gives vibrancy and colour all year round. Only growing to around 30cm makes it the perfect companion plant for pots or containers filled with other plants. That 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 and can be used in coastal gardens or in 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 kinds of grass for containers will be easy to grow and maintain, require very little care from you, and give you all of the aesthetic appeals that ornamental grasses have to offer.

Last update on 2022-03-17 / 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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