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Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass - Calamagrostis x acutiflora
‘Karl Foerster’ is the most popular of the hybrid feather reed grasses sold in commerce today. It is noted for its narrow-vertical growth of bright green leaves to 3’ tall and 2’ wide and feathery plumes of summer-blooming pink to purple tinged flowers on narrow upright stalks rising well above the foliage to 5’ tall. The pretty flowers change colors through the seasons. More details below.

Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass - Calamagrostis x acutiflora

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Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass
Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' 

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5a-9b  Find Your Zone



Special Attributes

Who could've ever guessed that an ornamental grass could win Perennial Plant of the Year? In 2001 this beauty did!

‘Karl Foerster’ is the most popular of the hybrid feather reed grasses sold in commerce today. It is noted for its narrow-vertical growth of bright green leaves to 3’ tall and 2’ wide and feathery plumes of summer-blooming pink to purple tinged flowers on narrow upright stalks rising well above the foliage to 5’ tall. The pretty flowers change colors through the seasons. Cut the flower plumes at different stages to create a colorful arrangement. Try mixing them with roses, daisies and other cut flowers. 




Landscape & Garden Uses

Growing 5 feet in height with a spread of up to 2 feet or so in a narrow vertical form, Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass is ideal for use as specimen, grouped or in mass. It provide wonderful grassy texture and is an excellent vertical accent in landscape borders and narrow spaces. Because it likes moist to wet soils, it is perfect for use in those areas of the landscape where soil tends to remain moist, such as low spots and along streams and on the banks of ponds. A row or a mass planting of Karl is spectacular, especially when it's foliage is swaying on a windy day!

Spacing:  24" for mass plantings;  6' or more for space between plants





Cultural Preferences

Karl Foerster feather Reed Grass is easy to grow when planted right, and in the right spot. It adapts to most soil types, even heavy clay, preferring a consistently moist, fertile soil. Performs its best in full to mostly sun but will tolerate some shade, actually preferring some afternoon shade or filtered sun in hot climates. It is one of the earliest of ornamental grasses to start growing in spring. That means you want to make sure and trim it back to the ground in late winter, before new growth begins to emerge. 

Note:  Find helpful advice from our experts under the Planting & care tabs above on desktop computer screens and below on mobile devices.




Plant Details

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5a-9b  Find Your Zone
Plant Type:  Ornamental Grass
Height at Maturity:  3-5'
Width at Maturity:  1.5-2.5'
Spacing:  24" for mass plantings;  6' or more for space between plants
Growth Habit / Form:   Arching, Clumping, Grassy, Upright, Whispy
Growth Rate:  Moderate
Flower Color:  Pink to Purple tinged
Flower Size:  - 
Flowering Period:  late Spring through Winter
Flower Type:  Plumes
Fragrant Flowers: No
Foliage Color:  Bright Green
Fragrant Foliage:  No 
Berries:  No
Berry Color:  na
Sun Needs:  Full to Mostly Sun with some afternoon shade in hot climates
Water Needs:  Average
Soil Type:  Clay, Loam, Sandy (amended), Silty
Soil Moisture / Drainage:  Well-Drained Consistently Moist, Boggy, Wet
Soil pH:  6.0 - 8.0 
Maintenance / Care:  Low 
Attracts:  Visual Attention, Birds
Resistances:  Deer, Disease, Humidity, Insect, Wet Soil



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