Deschampsia flexuosa

Common Name: crinkled hair grass
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Temperate northern Hemisphere
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Purple to bronze
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers moist, organically rich soils, but grows well in dry shade. Cut old foliage to the ground in late winter before new shoots appear. Flowering stems may be removed in fall to tidy plants or may be left for winter interest. This is one of the few ornamental grasses that grows well in moderately shady locations, however it will not flower well if moved into too much shade. Semi-evergreen foliage may retain some green color in a mild St. Louis winter. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Plants dislike high heat and humidity and often perform poorly south of USDA Zone 7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Deschampsia flexuosa, commonly called wavy or crinkled hair grass, is clump-forming, cool season grass which may be grown as an ornamental. It is native to dry open woods, slopes, fields, grasslands and open areas in North America, Europe and Asia. It typically forms a low, dense tussock (to 16” tall) of very thin, arching, flat to inrolled, wiry, dark green grass blades (to 2’ long). Numerous flower stems rise in summer from the foliage mound to a height of 3’ bearing wide, airy panicles of tiny, purple to bronze flowers which form a cloud over the foliage that is attractive when backlit. Flower panicles turn gold after bloom as the seed ripens, and may remain attractive through much of the winter.

Genus name honors Louis Auguste Deschamps (1765-1842) French surgeon and naturalist.

Specific epithet means zigzag or winding.

Common name is in obvious reference to the hair-like grass blades.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Excellent massed in woodland gardens or naturalized areas where the ethereal summer bloom produces a delicate cloud of subtle color hovering above the foliage. Also effective as a specimen or in groups in shaded areas of borders, large rock gardens or areas along ponds or streams. Mixes well with shade loving perennials such as ferns and hostas.