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Variegated Ribbon Grass

Phalaris arundinacea 'Picta'

If you’re looking for an easy to maintain plant, go for variegated ribbon grass. It’s low-maintenance and adds color and texture. The incredibly quick growth habit of variegated ribbon grass makes it a top choice for filling in empty garden space. Plus it is hardy and adapts to most growing conditions. The biggest concern with planting variegated ribbon grass is its potential to become invasive.

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Part Sun, Shade, Sun



1 to 3 feet


Indefinitely wide

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:




garden plans for Variegated ribbongrass

Variegated Ribbon Grass Colors

Variegated ribbon grass is a versatile plant that adds color when planted either in the ground or in container gardens. With their narrow, lance-shaped foliage on a fairly short plant height, variegated ribbon grass' spreading habit often gives the appearance of bamboo. It adds texture and movement to the garden, especially when seen gently swaying in the breeze. Variegated ribbon grass plant is most commonly grown for its foliage as it seldom blooms. If it does bloom, the flowers are often airy and insignificant, forming light and wiry panicles.

Learn about more drought-tolerant grasses.

Variegated Ribbon Grass Care

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 river banks and other wetland areas. It is somewhat of a toss-up though, as you are potentially introducing an invasive species that can quickly choke out native plants. Variegated ribbon grass plants spread by aggressive rhizomes underground which why they are so invasive.

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.

Learn how to decorate your garden with easy ornamental grasses.

Plant Variegated Ribbon Grass With:


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.Shown above: Immortality iris

Black-eyed Susan

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.

Sunflower, perennial

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.

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