Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass
Stunning Accent Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass
- Bold Handsome Look
- Upright Growth Habit
- Strikingly Formal Accent Grass
- Great Cut Flower
- Fast Growing
- Drought Tolerant
- Deer Resistant
- 2001 Perennial Plant of the Year
Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster') is one of the world's most popular garden grasses. This handsome grass works hard in your landscape and asks for little in return.
These tall, narrow plants draw the eye as exclamation points. They are ideal for adding vertical definition to your landscape.
In late summer, they'll grow bold, blonde flower spikes. You'll love the gleaming sunlight shining on the developing seed heads. Each one rises above the strongly upright blades that grow straight up from the ground.
Use one Karl Foerster as an accent grass in a prominent place. Or, use multiple plants to create a featured focal point.
Feather Reed Grasses are nicknamed "motion grass" because it sways in the slightest breeze. The heavy fall seed heads of Karl Foerster bend and sway to and fro in the breeze and whip back and forth in heavier wind. Adding their kinetic energy brings a dynamic element to your landscape design.
Easy to grow, this ornamental grass is known for its rugged yellow plumes and glossy deep green leaf blades. The overall shape of Karl Foerster is quite formal and very attractive. They'll remain tall and straight even after heavy rains or winds.
As the seed heads mature in fall, they transition from bright yellow to mellow hues of gold and tan. These seed heads also provide a welcome source of food and shelter for local bird populations over the winter, so leave them standing until early spring.
With no serious pest or disease problems, it's easy to see why Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass was named Perennial of the Year in 2001. With its perpetual motion, formal plumes and lively growth habit, Karl Foerster is sure to keep you entertained throughout the seasons.
Add this wonderful ornamental grass to your landscape. You'll be enthralled with its handsome good looks. Order yours today!
How to Use Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass in the Landscape
Because this grass is very controlled and low maintenance, it is quite often used in commercial landscapes where you most often find it planted in mass or in narrow spaces as a fill plant.
Karl Foerster is a great low maintenance plant. This versatile selection looks great in the garden border, as an effective background for perennial beds, massed together in perfect military precision, or used in a long, natural drift.
Want an easy focal point? Line the perimeter of a geometric planting bed with a low, evergreen Boxwood hedge. Then, fill the center with Karl Foerster planted 2 feet on center. This spectacular nod to ancient garden design feels very fresh and modern.
We recommend using one plant or using lots and lots of them together.
Add dash and flair to an old evergreen tree. Boost the excitement of a sunny bend in your garden path by using a single plant as an accent.
And why not plant that single plant in a large ornamental container? You'll easily elevate the look and inject your personal style through your design choices.
Add another container and flank them on either side of your front door for a very sophisticated look.
Use multiple Karl Foerster plants to reflect the sunlight, catch the breeze and create excitement to highlight changes in elevation or to ease transitions. Use along the path between two destinations.
Create a high-impact look along a walkway with a staggered double row planted in a zig-zag pattern. Yes, you could just use one plant deep, but why not be big? Be bold with this selection!
A wider double hedgerow really creates a statement. Even if you have to shorten up the planting to stay on budget, you'll appreciate how several Karl Foerster plants work together to create excitement.
Add another row or two to create a mass planting to fill a wide, bare spot. Keep the plants spaced two feet apart (measuring from center to center) for best performance. Like a disciplined army, a precise row of Karl Foerster reads like individual soldiers working in an effective team.
Can you imagine the Memorials or special remembrance spaces you could create using this plant? Add a bench and a special weeping flowering tree for a place you'll visit time and time again to pay tribute to your loved ones.
Or, create a natural look by changing the geometric massed zig-zagged planting design into a long, skinny drift planting design. Simply taper either end down to a single plant. In the middle of your drift planting, create depth by doubling or tripling up the plants. Keep things loose and natural with curving lines in a naturalized drift.Study the celebrated gardens of Piet Oudouf, a world famous garden designer who makes Karl Foerster sing in these types of fantastic, long drifts. Right-size these ideas for your home landscape and enjoy!
The blooms are also popular as cut flowers and really make a great compliment in a mixed cut flower arrangement. Dry the stalks for a long-lasting winter display.
#ProPlantTips for Care
This hardy grass adapts well to a variety of soils and conditions. Unlike many ornamental grasses that self-seed, Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass does not self-seed—so you don't have to worry about it becoming invasive.
For best results, give these cool season grasses a spot in full sun or partial shade. In hot, dry climates, the Karl Foerster benefits from a location with morning sun and late shade.
But too much shade can decrease the number of blooms and make the foliage floppy. This grass is a sun-lover.
Karl Foerster likes to be planted in well-drained soil. However, it is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions from somewhat wet to dry.
Once established, this grass is drought tolerant and very popular in low water, water-wise and xeriscape gardens. Include a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch to keep roots cool and cut down on surface evaporation.
We recommend leaving the foliage and seed heads up all winter. Enjoy the winter interest delivered by this beautiful award-winning grass. Leave those plumes up all winter long!
When you see the first, bright green blades appear in early spring, choose a nice day for your annual pruning task. Grab gloves and see if you can rope in a friend to help make it fun.
Grab a tarp or a few yard bags and a sharp garden saw. Gather all of last year's growth together and hold it in one hand.
Make long, even strokes with the saw in your other hand to saw through the whole clump right at ground level. Bag or compost the old foliage.
Enjoy the surge of new spring growth. Ornamental grasses are fun to watch all year long, from their lush summer foliage to the high impact of the golden flower stalks and seed heads in autumn. Even the buff, dry old growth sculpts the winter snow and adds interest.
Do a little or do a lot in your yard—but do something! Karl Foerster is a workhorse that performs beautifully in modern, rustic or formal design styles. Lean on this plant, he's up to the task. Order today!
Buying Options for Plants
Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.
Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!
Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.
- Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
- Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.
Nature Hills Container Size by Volume
|Young Plants to 18 Months|
|2"x2"x3"||Ranges from||.18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume|
|4.5" Container||Equal to||.65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume|
|Sprinter Pot||Equal to||.63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume|
|4" Container||Ranges from||.31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume|
|6" Container||Equal to||1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume|
|1 Quart||Equal to||1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume|
|5.5" Container||Equal to||1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x5"||Ranges from||.8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x6"||Ranges from||1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x9"||Ranges from||1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x10"||Ranges from||1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume|
|Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old|
|2 Quart||Equal to||2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume|
|#1 Container||Ranges from||2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume|
|5"x5"x12"||Equal to||3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume|
|Plants 2 - 4 Years Old|
|#2 Container||Ranges from||1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume|
|#3 Container||Ranges from||2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume|
|Plants 3 - 5 Years Old|
|#5 Container||Ranges from||2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume|
|#7 Container||Ranges from||5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume|
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Superior Architectural Variety
Commonly known as Feather Reed Grass, the Calamagrostis x acutiflora is a cross between a native Asian feather grass, Calamagrostis arundinacea, and a European native, Calamagrostis epigejos.
Though the hybrid happens naturally in the wild, the Karl Foerster selection was discovered in the Hamburg Botanical Gardens in the 1930's by German Nurserymen Karl Foerster and named in his honor. Karl Foerster' Calamagrostis was introduced in 1950.
The Calamagrostis is noted for its wide adaptability to different soil types and climates, as well as its almost year-round beauty in the landscape.
Best known for it's use in prairie plantings done by famed plantsman and garden designers, Wolfgang Oehme and James van Swede. They used sweeps of this erect grass to great effect, creating a sculptural experience for visitors to their gardens.
The California Department of Water Resources, Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) list has this plant rated at MEDIUM TO LOW water use. This qualifies the Calamagrostis for use in areas where plants with average to infrequent watering needs are desired. They are ideal for using in swales or in berm plantings or for erosion control.
|Botanical Name||Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'|
|Mature Height||4 - 5 feet|
|Mature Spread||18 - 24 inches|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun, Partial Sun|