Highly ornamental, pale, open airy grasses with branched clusters of small white flowers. Certain perennial species, such as A. capillaris, are often used in lawn seed mixes.

Family: Poaceae or Gramineae
Botanical Name: Agrostis
Common Names: Common bent grass, brown top, cloud grass

Foliage: Evergreen, short narrow, often tightly rolled leaves.

Flowers: Clouds of tiny flower spikes, borne on delicately branched panicles.

Flowering Period: Summer (July to August)

Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (Chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Plant in an east, west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered position.

Habit: Bushy or tufted, clump forming.

Type: Perennial or hardy annual.

Origin: Europe

Hardiness: Hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Agrostis

Thrives in any reasonable well-drained garden soil, even poor soils. Best in full sun, although it will tolerate some shade for part of the day.

Plant alone in patches or together with taller perennial grasses.

Useful as cut flowers, either fresh or dried. To prepare for drying: cut on a warm sunny day before the flowers are fully mature, and hang up to dry in a cool airy place.

Taking Care of Agrostis

Divide perennials every few years to maintain vigour.

Pruning Agrostis

Cut back dead leaves and stems before new growth starts, in late winter or early spring.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free.

Propagating Agrostis

Sow seeds under glass in April. Prick out, pot on, and harden off before planting out at the beginning of May. Seed can also be sown outside in early spring where the plants are to grow. Once large enough to handle, thin the seedlings to 6-8in (15-20cm) apart.

Popular Varieties of Agrostis

Agrostis nebulosa is an ornamental annual form that grows wild in western and southern Europe. Numerous panicles of dainty flowers appear in late summer. Height to 18in (45cm), spacing 6in (15cm).

Agrostis calamagrostis is deciduous perennial with narrow, arching leaves and feathery panicles of pale green flowers that turn pale buff in autumn.