water conservation arizona landscape plants
Low-Water Grasses

Ornamental grasses are among the best plants to add a softening element to the landscape, particularly when planted close to boulders or other hard surfaces. View selection and planting information for grasses.

Click the photo or [plant info sheet] links to get detailed information about each plant as well as photos of the plants. For a guide to understanding plant names, click here.

Common Name: Sideoats Grama
Botanical Name: Bouteloua curtipendula


[Plant Info Sheet]

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Mature Size: 2' h x 1 1/2' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Green, dries to tan. Tall spikes.
Sun: full sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: summer to fall
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: blue-green - tan in fall
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: bunchgrass low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? deciduous
Hardiness: <0° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: yes growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Attracts Wildlife: birds growing plants in the desert southwest
Other Features: Interestiing seed stalks are relished by birds.
Native to: North America, South America
Also try Aristida purpurea, especially for naturalistic landscapes.
Plant Type: grass
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Blue Grama
Botanical Name: Bouteloua gracilis


[Plant Info Sheet]

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Mature Size: 1 1/2' h x 2' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Green, dries to tan. Tall spikes.
Sun: full sun, partial sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: summer
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: blue-green - tan in fall
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: bunchgrass low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? deciduous
Hardiness: <0° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: yes growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Unique seedheads resemble eyelashes. Good for meadows.
Native to: North America
Plant Type: grass
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Pink Muhly
Botanical Name: Muhlenbergia capillaris


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 3' h x 3' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Pink airy plumes
Sun: full sun, partial sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: fall
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: medium green - tan in fall
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: mounding low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? deciduous
Hardiness: <0° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns:
Attracts Wildlife: growing plants in the desert southwest
Other Features: Locate where pink flower plumes will be backlit by the sun.
Native to: Mexico, Texas
Look for selections with deep pink flower plumes.
Plant Type: grass
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Bamboo Muhly
Botanical Name: Muhlenbergia dumosa


[Plant Info Sheet]

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Mature Size: 4' h x 4' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Green, dries to tan
Sun: full sun, partial sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: summer
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: bright green - tan in fall
Growth Rate: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: clumping low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? deciduous
Hardiness: 1-10° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Other Features: Resembles short bamboo. Good in containers.
Native to: Arizona, northwest Mexico
Plant Type: grass
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Deer Grass
Botanical Name: Muhlenbergia rigens


[Plant Info Sheet]
plants good for pools low litter

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Mature Size: 4' h x 4' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Green, dries to tan. Tall spikes.
Sun: full sun, partial sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: fall
Water: low plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: medium green - tan in fall
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: mounding low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? deciduous
Hardiness: <0° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Attracts Wildlife: growing plants in the desert southwest
Other Features: Versatile grass with lush foliage and interesting flowers.
Native to: Mexico, southwest U.S.
Also try M. emersleyi, M. lindheimeri, and M. rigida.
Plant Type: grass
[Plant Info Sheet]


Common Name: Mexican Thread Grass
Botanical Name: Stipa tenuissima


[Plant Info Sheet]

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Mature Size: 1 1/2' h x 1 1/2' w plant photos and information for the desert southwest Flower Color: Green, dries to tan. Medium spikes.
Sun: partial sun plant size and pictures for the desert southwest Flower Season: fall
Water: moderate plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Color: chartreuse - golden in fall
Growth Rate: fast plant flower color for the desert southwest Foliage Texture: fine
Form: clumping low litter plants for the desert southwest Evergreen? deciduous
Hardiness: <0° F yard plants for the desert southwest Litter: low
Allergenic: no growing plants in the desert southwest Thorns: none
Attracts Wildlife: growing plants in the desert southwest
Other Features: Threadlike leaves make this a soft billowy grass.
May be sold as Nassella tenuissima
Native to: Chihuahuan Desert, South America
Plant Type: grass
[Plant Info Sheet]