Deschampsia cespitosa
Common Name: tufted hair grass 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Cosmopolitan
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Tones of gold, silver, purple and green
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Black Walnut, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers moist, organically rich soils. Cut old foliage to the ground in late winter before new shoots appear. Flowering stems may be removed in fall to tidy plants or 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Deschampsia cespitosa, commonly called tufted hair grass, is a clump-forming, cool season grass which is often grown as an ornamental. It typically forms a low, dense tussock (to 16" tall) of very thin (1/5" wide), arching, flat to inrolled, 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 (to 20" long) of tiny, variably-colored flowers (tones of gold, silver, purple and green) which form a cloud over the foliage that is particularly attractive when backlit. Flower panicles turn yellowish-tan after bloom as the seed ripens and may remain attractive through much of the winter. One of the few ornamental grasses that grows well in shade.

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

Specific epithet means tufted.

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


No serious insect or disease problems.


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