A small group of tall, stiff, upright grasses with feathery flower heads that sway in the slightest breeze. Ideal for the back of the border or as a specimen plant.

Family: Poaceae or Gramineae
Botanical Name: Calamagrostis
Common Names: Feather reed grass

Foliage: Deciduous, tall flat, gently arching, mid green leaves.

Flowers: Dense branching, purple or bronze tinted panicles that fade to straw.

Flowering Period: Summer.

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

Conditions: Best in full sun, will tolerate light shade. Plant in any aspect.

Habit: Clump forming.

Type: Rhizomatous perennial grass.

Origin: Europe and Asia.

Hardiness: Hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Calamagrostis

Plant in a moist but well-drained, humus-rich poor soil, in full sun. The growth can become floppy in rich soils and shade.

Good for creating garden divisions or as a backdrop to a border.

Taking Care of Calamagrostis

Needs very little care and attention once established. Staking is not usually required.

Pruning Calamagrostis

The flowers are best left over winter to add structure to borders. Cut down in late winter, allowing new growth to spurt up in spring.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free

Propagating Calamagrostis

Divide established clumps in spring or autumn

Popular Varieties of Calamagrostis

Calamagrostis brachytricha is an upright grass with gently arching grey-green foliage, topped by tall, fluffy flower heads which are silvery-grey with pinkish-purple tints. For sale at Crocus.

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' is a hardy, upright grass with deep green foliage and plumes of bronze feathery flowers that turn beige in autumn. Height to 6ft (1.8m), spread 2ft (60cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Overdam' is a compact form with leaves edged and striped white. Airy purplish flower sprays in summer, turning beige in winter.