Focus on Natives: Elliot’s Lovegrass

Jill StaakeOrnamental grasses are popular in gardens, and for good reason. Taller varieties add texture and interest, while lower growing

Jill StaakeOrnamental grasses are popular in gardens, and for good reason. Taller varieties add texture and interest, while lower growing species make great groundcovers.  Elliot’s Lovegrass (Eragrostis elliottii) is one of my personal favorites in the latter category. Native to the Southeast, this ornamental grass has interesting colors when viewed up close, and is incredibly easy to grow. In the late summer and fall, the seed heads (inflorescences) appear, adding an airy feeling and providing food for small birds.

The Facts:

  • Grows to about 2 feet by 2 feet, and spreads by rhizomes.
  • Native to the Southeast U.S. Grows well in zones 6 – 10, said to be hardy to -10 degrees.
  • Plant in full sun to part shade, in well-drained sandy soil.
  • Like all native grasses, you can cut back once a year in late winter or spring.

If you live too far north to grow Elliot’s Lovegrass, you can grow Purple Lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis) instead. Look for both at native plant nurseries in your area. Do you grow Lovegrass among your ornamental grasses? Why do you love it? Tell us in the comments below.

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.