University of Maryland Extension

Feather Reed Grass ‘Karl Foerster’

Debra Ricigliano

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

2001 Perennial Plant of the Year, ornamental grass ‘Karl Foerster’ provides three generous seasons of interest. Sturdy green blades emerge early from winter dormancy, growing to 4-5’ tall.  Inflorescences (flower stalks) shoot up higher in summer, feathery and purplish, moving gracefully in breezes. By August, they become narrow and tan, making a strong vertical statement. Effective as single specimens or in masses, ‘Karl Foerster’ grows best in well-drained, moist soil but adapts to heavier clay soils and drier sites.  Plant in sun to prevent inflorescences from flopping.  Cut the clump back to about 6” in late winter or early spring before new growth.  

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