Calamagrostis brachytricha, aka Korean Feather Reed Grass, is a clump-forming ornamental grass with green leaves and fluffy flower plumes. It is not as well known as its infamous cousin Calmagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, commonly known as Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass. But Korean Feather Reed Grass really should get more attention, as it is an indispensable option to add wispy texture to planting schemes in part shade conditions.
Scientific Name: Calamagrostis brachytricha
Common Name: Korean Feather Reed Grass
Plant Type: Ornamental Grass
Mature Height: 3-4’
Mature Spread: 2-3’
Cold Hardiness Zone: USDA zones 4 – 9 (up to 6,500 ft)
Water Requirement: Medium. Slightly drought tolerant once established, but prefers adequate moisture. Requires regular amounts of water if it is planted in more sun.
Exposure: Part Sun/Shade
Soil: Tolerant of a wide range of soils.
Flower Color & Bloom Time: The feather like flower spikes have a pink tinge when they initially emerge in late summer, and then fade to straw yellow in fall. Compared to Karl Foerster grass, the flowers of Korean Feather seem to be much more misty and gauzy when they first appear which gives the plants a wonderfully diaphanous appearance.
Winter Interest: Gold foliage and flowers.
Disadvantages: May reseed under certain conditions.
Availability and Sizes: This plant seems to be regularly available at retail nurseries around the front range. It is typically sold in 1 gallon or 4″ pots.
Best Features: A large, showy, flowering ornamental grass that can take shady conditions.
Maintenance Tip: Like other ornamental grasses, trim plants down to about 4-6” above the surrounding soil in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins to emerge.
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