6 unpretentious cereals for container compositions – Beautiful indoor plants

The fashion for decorative cereals in landscape design could not help but migrate from gardens to balconies and loggias. In the USA and Europe, annuals in containers are increasingly placed in a company with ornamental grasses. A few years ago, I also decided to add cereals to the compositions on the balcony and in the flower beds in my garden. What decorative grains are easy to grow by seedlings? Which of them are capable of wintering well in the middle lane, and who is destined for the fate of an annual? Will cereals bloom in the year of sowing, and with what flowers can they be successfully combined? In this article, I will tell you about six cereals that I successfully use in balcony compositions and on a flower garden.

6 unpretentious cereals for container compositions. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com PicSnaper

For me, growing cereals in compositions with annuals is not just a tribute to fashion or blind copying of garden magazines. In the company of discreet herbs, annual flowers begin to look completely different – more solid and stylish. Cereals give the composition a structure, add air, movement and sound to the plantings at the slightest breath of breeze.

In addition, as it turned out, growing most cereals from seeds is no more difficult than preparing seedlings of petunias or other unpretentious annuals.

1. The feather grass is the thinnest

The most common variety of this type of feather grass “Pony Tails” (Pony Tails). The name of the cultivar, translated from English, means “ponytail”, which may indicate the resemblance of a shock of the finest spikelets of a plant to a horse’s hair.

The thinnest fork (Stipa tenuissima)
The finest feather grass (Stipa tenuissima). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Lyudmila Svetlitskaya

Feather grass, grown from seeds, usually blooms only in the 2nd – 3rd year, so I did not manage to personally see the flowering of this cereal due to its low frost resistance. However, dense clumps of narrow linear leaves bear no less resemblance to a ponytail and look very attractive.

The declared height of 40 centimeters feather grass reaches the finest only in a flowering state, therefore, in an annual culture, it is a low-growing compact cereal suitable for small containers.

Pony Tails feather grass seeds germinate very easily within a week without cold stratification and other additional procedures. The growth rate of the seedlings is average. Therefore, in order to get fluffy clumps by the beginning of May, it is better to sow the seeds indoors in February-March.

On my balcony, I liked most of all combining this cereal with petunia. Both plants are very light-requiring and responsive to feeding. In addition, such a duet looked original and made it possible to perceive the usual annual in a completely different form.

Unfortunately, this type of feather grass belongs to the 6th zone of frost resistance, therefore it is not able to withstand frosts below -20 degrees. Attempts to keep containers with feather grass in a cool basement at +10 degrees were unsuccessful. Wintering in the ground with good cover also ended in failure. However, I grow this cereal annually in an annual crop to add airy greenery to the bold annuals.

On sale is also often found the unusual feather grass “Fireworks” (originally a hybrid “Sirocco”), whose foliage changes color from green to shades of copper and pink as the temperature decreases. Often, seed producers are a little cunning, designating a hybrid as a perennial, without indicating the degree of its winter hardiness. However, this cultivar also belongs to the 6th zone, which means that feather grass will not withstand temperatures below -20 … -23 degrees, and in the middle lane it is grown only as an annual crop.

2. Woolly sedge (Carex comans)

Hybrid Amazon crap Vylate sedge is one of the smallest cereals (no higher than 20 centimeters), which can be successfully used to decorate the edges of pots and hanging baskets, since it has characteristic slightly drooping sickle-curved leaves.

Vylate sedge (Carex comans)
Woolly sedge (Carex comans). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Lyudmila Svetlitskaya

The textured narrow foliage of the hairy sedge is light green in color, it turns out to be quite tough to the touch, which is why from a distance (unknowingly) plants can be mistaken for artificial grass.

Sedge is especially effective Amazon crap it happens in windy weather, due to the fact that the reverse side of the foliage is distinguished by a silvery color. It creates a characteristic shimmering effect in the wind.

The name of this cereal is heard by everyone who spent the summer in the country as a child, and it seems that the hybrid variety should also be resistant, like the famous weed. But, alas, Vylate sedge is a thermophilic variety of a common grass native to New Zealand and does not tolerate temperatures below -23 degrees.

Sedge blooms at the end of summer with inconspicuous spikelets, but flowering, in any case, occurs only in the second year when grown in the southern regions. At a young age, seed-grown sedge grows rather slowly, so it is best to sow in mid-to-late winter.

Seed germination takes about a week, at this time it is better to keep the containers on a well-lit windowsill or under a fluorescent lamp. Once planted in a permanent place, this original decorative cereal needs minimal maintenance if it is placed in a sunny place and provided with regular watering. In some cases, it is necessary to remove individual brown leaves from the curtains, but this problem occurs extremely rarely.

Osoka Amazon crap grows in a low, neat hummock, so it is better for her to choose low compact annuals with medium-sized flowers as partners. I liked combining it with hybrid nemesia, bacopa, mimulus, viola, calibrachoa, dwarf snapdragons, etc.

There are also other interesting varieties of the whilst sedge. For example, a hybrid Red rooster attractive red-bronze color of foliage. A kultvar Bronco differs in textured curtains of bronze-brown color. Both hybrids are also slightly winter-hardy and are grown in the middle lane as annuals.

3. Pennisetum (pinnate bristle), or “fountain grass”

Pennisetum surprises with fluffy brush inflorescences, the structural shape of the bush and elegant foliage. On sale you can find seeds of several types of this cereal, but for growing in the middle lane it is best suited foxtail pennisetum (Pennisetum alopecuroide) and oriental pennisetum (Pennisetum orientale).

Pennisetum foxtail (Pennisetum alopecuroide)
Pennisetum foxtail (Pennisetum alopecuroide). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com garten-schlueter

These varieties have a fairly high winter hardiness (withstand negative temperatures of about -29 degrees), so they can be cultivated in a perennial culture and winter well in flower beds under light shelter.

It is not difficult to grow pennisetum from seeds. If you plan to use it as a perennial garden plant, then the seeds can be sown directly into the ground in May. But for decorating balconies, I prefer to grow pennisetum early – through seedlings.

The seeds of the cereal are quite large, but still it is better not to sprinkle them with earth, but to gently press them into the substrate with a toothpick. Seedlings usually do not keep themselves waiting and appear in 7-10 days.

If you sow pennisetum at the end of winter, you can see flowering already in the year of sowing. Of course, in the first year it will not be so abundant and will begin only in mid-September. But, nevertheless, the original bristly “brushes” will be a wonderful decoration for autumn container compositions.

Pennisetum is a rather tall grain, therefore it can be used as the central accent of a tub composition. At the foot of the ornamental grass, marigolds, dwarf zinnias, undersized dahlias, petunias and other bushy annuals with large expressive flowers will look harmonious.

In the fall, it is better to transplant the bushes into open ground. In order for the wintering of pennisetum in the garden to be successful, it is recommended to tie the stems into bunches, spud them with peat and cover them with spruce branches.

Picturesque pennisetum grayAlso known as ornamental or African millet, with purple leaves and monumental burgundy ear buds, it is also easy to grow from seed. However, you should know that this is one of the most thermophilic types of pennisetum, and the plant will delight the grower for only one season.

4. Briza, or rag

Average breeze (medium breeze) Is a common meadow plant in a temperate climate. This pretty herb is popularly known as “cuckoo tears”. But among florists, the most widespread is big shaker (maximum breeze), which is most often used to compose original winter bouquets.

Big shaker (briza maxima)
Large shaker (briza maxima). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Benjamin Shafir

The breeze inflorescences resemble small flattened teardrop-shaped earrings that easily sway and shake at the slightest breeze (hence the name – “shaker”). The clumps of this cereal look rather loose, and simple linear leaves do not have much decorative value, so I prefer to plant the breeze so that its foliage is masked by bushy plants.

Since the breeze bushes grow poorly in width, for the greatest decorative effect they must be planted in a group, placing the seedlings as close to each other as possible.

“Cuckoo’s Tears” can find their place in compositions with petunia, snapdragon, heliotrope, verbena and other bright annuals from 20 to 40 centimeters high.

The breeze is large in nature is an annual. However, this small disadvantage is compensated for by the incredibly fast growth and early flowering. The annual shaker can be sown permanently in early May. Seedlings appear quickly, and the seedlings do not require special care. Flowering begins in July-August.

I would also like to note an equally interesting variety of perennial medium breezes Russels. The original cereal, in addition to cute inflorescences, is notable for its striped silvery-white foliage. The plant is distinguished by its unpretentiousness and cold resistance, it develops better in the sun, although it also tolerates light partial shade. In height, this shaker reaches 60 centimeters along with peduncles and it is better to plant it in garden flower beds, where the breeze can winter without any shelter. Since the Russels shaker has a hybrid origin, it is better to propagate the cereal by dividing the bush.

5. Ozhika snow-white

The rare original cereal is currently not widespread in gardens or on balconies, and this is not the fault of the external features of the plant or the difficulty in growing a crop. The fact is that many gardeners simply do not know about the existence of such an ornamental plant, otherwise they would certainly want to settle the ozhika in a flower garden, as it once happened to me. After all, this amazing cereal has many advantages.

Ozhika snow-white (Luzula nivea)
Ogika snow-white (Luzula nivea). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Shrubb

First, the plants form evergreen bumps that retain their foliage all year round. Secondly, the grass with a rather exotic appearance is absolutely winter-hardy in the middle lane. And thirdly, ozhika is one of the few cereals that will feel great in partial shade.

The original feature of the snow-white ogiki is the presence of a fluffy coating on the edge of the leaf blade, similar to frost or light snow cover. At the beginning of summer, neat bushes adorn the abundant openwork paniculate inflorescences, consisting of small grayish-white flowers, also resembling fluffy flakes of snow.

Since the ogre is a close relative of sedge, it is also quite hygrophilous and feels good in partial shade with sufficient moisture, for example, on the shore of a reservoir. However, plants grow well with moderate watering in sufficient sun, in combination with a variety of perennials or annuals in flower beds and flower beds.

Ogiki, as a rule, have a decent height and bush diameter (45-60 cm). And for balcony boxes or small gardens, a hybrid dwarf variety is suitable. Luzula Lucius 15 to 30 cm tall. In container compositions, the original cereal will make harmonious combinations with balsam, ever-flowering begonia, mimulus and other low-growing annuals for light or semi-shady places.

A hybrid can be propagated not only by dividing the bush, but also easily grown from seeds. It is possible to sow a peel before winter, or to grow seedlings indoors, by sowing in March. Small seeds are usually sold in granules, which are conveniently pressed lightly into the substrate with a damp toothpick.

There are no special problems in growing seedlings. Subsequently, in the flower beds of the ozhik, it gives abundant dense self-seeding, which can interfere with the growth of mother plants, therefore it is recommended to remove excess seedlings. In snowless winters, the evergreen foliage of the cereal can be damaged, but in the spring it quickly recovers.

6. Haretail, or Lagurus

Charming “hare tails” are difficult to confuse with any other representative of cereals. The main advantage of the plant is precisely the unusual dense egg-shaped inflorescences 3-4 centimeters long, blooming on long thin stems. At the beginning of flowering, spikelets are pinkish-gray, and later change color to pure white. Florists often use such original inflorescences for winter bouquets.

Haretail, or Lagurus (Lagurus ovatus)
Haretail, or Lagurus (Lagurus ovatus). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com forumhouse

Most often, lagurus is grown exclusively as a dried flower, but the fashion for natural flower beds made it possible to see a full-fledged participant in mixborders and container compositions in the haretail. The height of the plants is 30-50 centimeters, while the bushes practically do not grow in width, therefore, in order to achieve the greatest effect in flower beds, the hare-tail is planted in large arrays, placing the plants in a group at a distance of 10-15 centimeters from each other.

By its nature, lagurus is a fast-growing annual, so the seeds can be sown directly into the ground in early May. But I prefer to sow them for seedlings indoors in late March and early April, so that the adorable “hare tails” appear in July.

Seed germination takes 10-12 days; seedlings do not require special care. Haretail prefers sunny places, poor soils, and moderate watering, and, if necessary, tolerates drought well.

In container flower beds, the harebird will become the vertical accent of the composition. If you place it in the center of the container, surrounded by bright annual flowers (petunia, ever-flowering begonia, undersized snapdragons, marigolds, etc.), branchy bushes will hide the unattractive foliage of the lagurus, and bright inflorescences form an expressive contrast with fluffy light spikelets.


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Anna Evans

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