I love ornamental grasses. They come in all varieties. And once they’re established, they’ll do quite well in less than desirable (hot) conditions. 

Ornamental grasses in containers look great on a patio.

Tub of various types of ornamental grass

Galvanized Tubs Make Great Plant Containers:

I found this galvanized tub at the antique mall a few weeks ago. It was $9. Sold. Great price. 

I brought it home and took a big nail and hammered a bunch of holes in the bottom for drainage.

I used a container that I hammered holes in for drainage for the various ornamental grasses I planted.

And you know me. I don’t like to waste potting soil, thus money. So I put shards of broken pots in the bottom. Then as I took the grasses out of their pot, I tossed the pot in the tub. 

I didn’t use them all because some were bigger than I needed. Then just fill the rest of the container with potting soil.

Arranging Ornamental Grasses In The Container:

I put the tallest one in the back center. Then I just arranged the others with no real design in mind. 

Some will think: I bet some of those grasses get really high. Well, yes they might. Except I won’t let them. I’ll use my clippers to keep them at the size I want.

Just like you mow your lawn when it’s getting high.

You might try planting a container of ornamental grass if you only have a patio garden.

See those round steel things underneath? They are from a set of chimes that fell apart due to age and weather. When I finished planting the pot, I decided it would probably be best if it didn’t sit flat on the cement. Because you don’t want the grasses to sit in water. 

So I looked around and saw the chimes I was getting ready to toss. Ah, perfect.

Using What You Have:

I slipped two of them underneath so the tub could drain properly. Just think outside of the box. I use to use bricks, but hey, use what you have.

If I estimate how much this tub of grasses costs, I include the potted grasses from Lowes, the potting soil, and the galvanized tub. The estimated cost of the entire project: Around $25.

Ornamental grasses lend a real “natural” feel to your gardens or patio containers. The birds feel right at home. They can hide in the foliage and find nesting materials. 

Next time you’re at the garden center, take a look at them.

Muhly Grass:

There is one ornamental grass I don’t have that I’m looking for. It is called Muhly Grass, or Muhlenbergia capillaris. It is ultra-rugged, ultra-tough native grass. I had this gorgeous ornamental grass in Texas. 

Here is a photo I Googled of this native grass just so you could see what it looks like…

Pink muhly grass

In late summer and fall, the grass is topped by enormous plumes of cotton candy pink. It is low maintenance and beautiful. It is for zones 6-10. I really want this one!

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  2. I saw that grass all over town last year and fell it love with it too! I never thought about putting it in a pot or bucket – thanks again for the inspiration! It makes a nice contrast combined with your other plants and textures.

  3. Great ideas, Brenda! Putting wind chimes under is so smart. I don't think creatively like that, maybe I'm too practical for my own good. I'm dreaming of creating another garden bed in the Chicago backyard, sort of curving next to the shed. I think a few clumps of grasses would be just the perfect accent.

    Happy Week!


  4. Hi Brenda,
    Maybe I could get the grass to grow in a container since I can't seem to get it to grow in my yard? 😛 LOL!
    That is a darling idea. Looks perfect! 🙂

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  7. I used to have a white ornamental grass similar to the pink one – on the Florida Gulf Coast, we called it "screen candy". When the wind blew, and it did a lot during hurricane season, you couldn't see out your windows because the white fluff would cover the window screens. Had to take them down weekly to clean. So pretty, but when we moved, my husband said – no more!

  8. I love the textures of your native grasses. The tub was a great find. By the way, I have a planting tip that everyone might already know, but it was news to me when I learned it a few years back when I worked at a garden center — when putting potted plants into a bigger container, use your fingers or a gardening tool to gently pull apart the root ball a bit, particularly if it is really root bound. We'd pull the ball apart into about three sections, leaving a couple of inches of dirt right up around the base of the plant, but with three sections of roots hanging down. This way, the root ball won't just sit there like a little block, not really integrating with the potting soil around it. The roots will be able to get more water and have room to grow and won't stay bundled up.

  9. We have a variety of different types of ornamental grasses in our small backyard. I just love them! Some of them get huge and look beautiful when they change into their fall colors. They add a lot of visual interest through the winter too. My husband always trims them all down close to the ground in the spring and they come back beautifully every year. I always look forward to watching them grow. I have some purple fountain grass in a large container on my deck. It is my favorite, but doesn't do well here in the wintertime, so we dig it out and keep it in the garage through the cold weather months, then repot in the big deck container once it warms up. It is well worth the trouble every year.
    Brenda, I love your galvanized container with the grasses in it! Such a great natural look for your patio! I love the mix of flowers and ornamental grasses.

  10. I love ornamental grasses. We planted some last fall in the ditch beside our driveway and they didn't come back this spring. We are so mad. Plants are expensive! I am hoping I still have the receipt (probably don't) so I can get my money back. My sister just gave me the same galvanized tub – she didn't want it anymore. I recently planted basil in it.

  11. I really love that pink Muhly Grass (but then I'm a pink girl). I just did a search on Amazon and you can get it on there (seeds or the actual plant).

  12. I love the grasses. I have a big planter of lemon grass on my deck. It is supposed to help keep away the mosquitoes and I make lemon grass chicken sometimes. Lemon is one of my favorite scents. I also have a big tub of lemon balm, I use in tea.

  13. You got a galvanized tub for $9..I have been searching for one here second hand for planting but the vendors want an arm and a leg for them..If I give them an arm and leg it's going to be a heck of a lot hard to do my planting isn't it? 😉 It looks gorgeous as most everything you do does..and that grass with the pink is so pretty..I will write the name down in case I see any for sale around here..

  14. Fun idea!

    I have been loving the look of grasses wafting in the wind on our walks (how's that for some alliteration), but I didn't want to buy any because Lulu is still digging in the garden. I solved the problem by pulling up grasses that are growing between the street and the driveways of neighbors. I planted about 10 3 inch tall grass plants and they seem to be doing okay. It was a win/win idea – free to me and I helped spruce up the neighbors' driveways.

  15. Brenda, I love the grasses too. I grew a big clump in town by the fence, cause I had a little pond there. You have some very pretty things growing on your little hide away patio. Love it. xoxo,Susie

  16. I love grasses, they provide such a "free" feel to the garden. I have all my herbs in metal containers, great idea to put yours in containers, also like you keep so many of my plants down by shearing off. Have a great day Brenda, I'm headed out to the garden! It's been gorgeous here in IL!

  17. I love thinking outside the box and using what we have instead of just throwing away. I'm looking for plants that I can put into pots outside but will be great inside when the season is over. xo Laura

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