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Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'
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Family:  Poaceae
Main Season:  All Year
Flower Colour:  Purple
Leaf Colour:  Green
Position:  Sun
Soil Type:  Ordinary, medium loam
Height:  1.2m to 1.8m (4' to 6')
Pot Size:  9cm

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Often used in naturalistic gardens this is an excellent garden grass. Dense clumps of foliage and tall, upright stems topped with purple flushed green flowers in summer. 1.5m. Ordinary soil in sun or part shade. Good winter effect from the stems and seedheads.

Even though Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' has been around for a long time it is still making inroads into modern gardens of all styles.  It is one of the few ornamental grasses that can fit into everything from a traditional herbaceous border or cottage garden through to a stark modernist city planting in containers, and work well in meadow or naturalistic style gardens too.

Clump forming and sterile it is safe and reliable, being tough and hardy enough for almost anywhere in the UK and indeed most of Europe.  The conditions that seem to cause it most problems are hot and dry.

Early into growth in February and March the fresh, deep, green leaves emerge to make a good clump while many other deciduous grasses are still dormant.  The upright stems produce their flowers from the second half of May, purple flushed at first slowly turning a warm buff by midsummer and holding on well into winter as "seed" heads.  Heavy rain will make the flower stems bow, but once they dry out they almost always spring back up to their usual columnar shape.

For average to good soil in sun or a little shade.  Cut back in late winter.

There are also variegated selections ('Avalanche', 'England' and 'Overdam') but they tend not to be such good plants for flowering.

From Karl Foerster, in Germany before 1959.

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Stricta' is sometimes considered a synonym but many sources say that one flowers a couple of weeks before the other - the jury is still out here!


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