Variegated Ribbon Grass

This tough plant adds color and texture, but can become invasive.

Colorful Combinations

Variegated ribbon grass is a versatile plant that adds color when planted either in the ground or in container gardens. With narrow, lance-shaped foliage that stays on the short side, variegated ribbon grass has a somewhat spreading habit that often gives the appearance of bamboo. It adds texture and movement to the garden, especially when it gently sways in the breeze. Most commonly grown for its foliage, this grass seldom blooms. If it does bloom, the flowers are insignificant, forming light and wiry panicles.

Variegated Ribbon Grass Care Must-Knows

Variegated ribbon grass thrives in almost all growing conditions. It is happy growing in anything from shallow standing water to dry, sandy clay. The plant is slightly less aggressive when grown in drier conditions, but can still quickly take over a garden area if left unchecked.

One benefit to this aggressive grower is that variegated ribbon grass can be used to stabilize riverbanks and other wetland areas. But beware that you could be potentially introducing an invasive species that can quickly choke out native plants. Variegated ribbon grass plants spread by vigorous rhizomes underground, so it can be challenging to completely weed them out where they aren't wanted.

Much like their ability to grow in any soil condition, variegated ribbon grass grows in any lighting condition. It typically grow best in full to part sun, and is harder to establish when planted in full shade. Growing in full sun and dry conditions can lead to leaf scorch in the summer months.

Variegated Ribbon Grass Companion Plants

01 of 04

Variegated Ribbon Grass Overview

Description If you’re looking for an easy-to-maintain plant, go for variegated ribbon grass. It needs little care while adding color and texture wherever you plant it. Plus it grows incredibly fast, making it a top choice for filling in empty garden space. Variegated ribbon grass is fairly hardy and adapts to most growing conditions. However, it can become overly aggressive so plant where you can keep it contained.
Genus Name Phalaris arundinacea 'Picta'
Common Name Variegated Ribbon Grass
Plant Type Perennial
Light Part Sun, Shade, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Flower Color Green, Pink
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Special Features Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Groundcover, Slope/Erosion Control
02 of 04

Black-Eyed Susan

black-eyed susan
Perry L. Struse

Add a pool of sunshine to the garden with a massed planting of black-eyed Susan. From midsummer, these tough native plants bloom their golden heads off in sun or light shade and mix well with other perennials, annuals, and shrubs. Tall varieties look especially appropriate among shrubs, which in turn provide support. Add black-eyed Susans to wildflower meadows or native plant gardens for a naturalized look. Average soil is sufficient for black-eyed Susans, but it should be able to hold moisture fairly well.

03 of 04

Sunflower, perennial

perennial sunflower
David Speer

Probably one of the most-loved flowers, sunflowers are a long-time favorite for borders and for bouquets because of their huge blossoms. While not quite as large as its annual cousin, the perennial sunflower makes up for what it lacks in size with loads of blossoms in late summer and into fall.

04 of 04


Iris Immortality
Dean Schoeppner

Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, iris indeed comes in a rainbow of colors and in many heights. All have the classic, impossibly intricate flowers. The flowers are constructed with three upright ″standard″ petals and three drooping ″fall″ petals, which are often different colors. The falls may be ″bearded" or not. Some cultivars bloom a second time in late summer. Some species prefer alkaline soil while others prefer acidic soil.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles