5 ornamental grasses to plant in containers

Want to plant something different in your containers this season? Try these ornamental grasses for a striking patio display

Bunny Tails ornamental grass in a container
(Image credit: Suttons)

Ornamental grasses give visual impact and are perfect for adding a burst of texture and color to your patio and pathway, plus they look fabulous bobbing in the breeze. There’s more to them than meets the eye too – they’re low maintenance, can withstand hot summers and are just as at home in a container as they are in your garden borders. 

If you've been considering how to grow ornamental grasses in pots on your patio this year, we've put together some of our favorite options for stunning containers. 

1. Lemon grass

Lemon Grass Plant in a container on a patio

(Image credit: Dobies)

As well as being ornamental, lemon grass is edible. It produces a lovely citrusy mix of lemon and mint that’s believed to have medicinal properties too. It's a good option if you want to learn how to grow your own herbal tea as you can infuse it to make tea for upset tummies. 

You can plant it at the end of May until the end of June, and it will be available to harvest from July to October. Lemon grass loves a sunny spot and it does well in container gardening ideas

When roots appear through drainage holes that’s the time to move it into a large container.

2. Carex

Carex Feather Falls

(Image credit: Suttons)

Carex is great for low-maintenance garden ideas, plus it's evergreen so you will have permanent color with this variety. 

The long arching decorative foliage is pale green with a stripe and it loves soaking up the sun. Plant it up in pots for your patio and it will give you years of fresh looking ornamental grass that will add a gentle movement to your garden. You can use it in your borders too if you want to fill up some spaces. 

3. Black Lilyturf

Black Lilyturf, Ornamental Black Grass

(Image credit: Thompson & Morgan)

This unusual plant produces 60% truly black grass-like foliage (the rest are a darker green shade) that’s really striking during the winter months. 

In the summer, you’ll be treated to dainty bell-shaped blooms that turn into dark inky-blue berries. You can add it to containers with other varieties as it will give texture and structure to a patio display as the dark leaves create a dramatic contrast.

Our guide to the best black plants has more suggestions on how to add dramatic planting to your space. 

4. Stipa

Stipa tenuissima - Mexican feather grass

(Image credit: Thompson & Morgan)

A beautiful billowing ornamental grass that has fluffy buff-colored flower heads, this hardy perennial is another great low-maintenance option. 

Resilient and drought resistant once it’s established, this variety forms neat, arching clumps that love sunny borders. It’s ideal for containers and garden gravel ideas and grows to a height of 60cm and 30cm across. 

5. Bunny tails

Bunny Tails ornamental grass

(Image credit: Suttons)

A much sought after grass, Bunny Tails is a decorative variety that looks fabulous in pots and can be successfully dried. It’s currently popular with the dried flower trend, so a good choice if you want to try your hand at how to dry flowers

You can grow it from seed or buy it as a plant, it’s easy to grow and loves sandy soil. The flower heads are very tactile and add a lovely texture to a container. The slender stems are quite a bright green so they add a welcome burst of color too. 

Sophie Warren-Smith
Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist last year and recently launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for weddings and events.