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Ornamental grasses in containers - overwinter

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Ornamental grasses in containers - overwinter

Postby isabelbrinck » May 24, 2009 3:43 pm


My main mission as a container gardener is curently to protect my rooftop balcony from the "view" of the gravel roof and neighbouring buildings. Last year, I successfully grew Scarlet Runner Beans on two trellises, protecting us somewhat from the building next door. Late in the season, I discovered that Drcaena spikes worked wonders for softening the view towards the roof itself and building further away in the distance.

I decided this year to plant ornamental grasses in containers at ground level, to camouflage the view, when seated, of the roof. I have bought 15" (diameter) X 11" (depth) plastic containers with the idea of filling them with an ornamental grass that might be hardy to zone 3 or 4 (I'm in 5), and line the containers with foam in the hopes of overwintering the plants.

Am I crazy? Are there native grasses that would be worth a shot? My neighbourhood market has calamagrostis and pennisetum. I'm personally leaning toward the calamagrostis, even though the saleslady said they are for in-ground planting. I have read otherwise on She recommended Dracaenas spikes again, but I really prefer a native, or at least hardier grass.

I'm looking to keep the plants at about 60cm/2 ft. tall.

Montreal, QC
Hardiness Zone 5a
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Re: Ornamental grasses in containers - overwinter

Postby evepet » May 24, 2009 4:51 pm

Another container gardener here. While I've got my containers full already :lol: I'm interested in your project. Not being immediately familiar with the names of the grasses, I wanted to see what calamagrostis and pennisetum are, so did a google search.

I also found the website, and they definitely talk about planting both of these grasses in containers, and overwintering them. Just in case I'm looking at something slightly different, I'm copying the link for you. It's

Is there anyway you could put the cutback plants (container and all) in styrofoam containers when it's time to ready them for the winter...putting additional mulching around them in the container (ie filling the entire container with some sort of insulation material) Then place the containers in an area that's as sheltered from winds as possible?

Hopefully somebody that has experience in overwintering containered plants will pop in and give you more advice.

Your rooftop garden efforts sound very interesting though. I wish you good luck! :)
'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it.' W.C. Fields
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Location: Peterborough, ON Zone 5B

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