From cordyline to flax, grass and plants with strappy leaves are a great pick for the hard-to-grow spots in your garden. They’re low maintenance, tough and thrive in a wide range of conditions. Many are also drought-hardy, which naturally makes them excellent picks if waterwise gardening is your thing. Thanks to their interesting texture and generous growth habit, grass and strappy leaf plants also make ideal border plants and lend themselves perfectly to mass planting.
Grasses and strappy plants
Flax and grass plants for Sydney homes
From cordyline to flax, grass and plants with strappy leaves are a great choice to fill the hard-to-grow spots in your garden. They’re low maintenance, tough and thrive in a wide range of conditions. Many are also drought-hardy, which naturally makes them excellent picks for waterwise gardening in Sydney.
Thanks to their interesting texture and generous growth habit, grass and strappy leaf plants also make ideal border plants and groundcover plants and lend themselves perfectly to mass planting for maximum effect.
When is the best season to plant grass?
Grasses can be roughly divided into cool season grasses and warm season grasses, which indicates their peak growing seasons and preferred climates.
Cool season grasses usually grow most quickly in late autumn or early spring, the months either side of the depths of winter. Warm season grasses will do the opposite, and grow best in the months around the height of summer, so late spring and early autumn.
The best time to plant your flax or grass plants is just before its peak growing season kicks off, so it can germinate in time to make use of the perfect growth conditions.
It’s better not to plant in the middle of summer or winter as it can affect the ability of your plants to grow properly. In winter, the cold may cause the seed to go dormant instead of germinating properly, while in summer, immature grasses may be stressed by extreme heat and require huge quantities of water to establish properly.
In Australia, the most popular grasses are those that fare better in the warm seasons because our warm seasons are longer, but there are several varieties easily available that will grow best in cooler months. You can always ask a Flower Power expert when is the best season to plant grass in your garden.
Native grasses for Sydney gardens
Native grasses and strappy plants are a great way to fill your garden; they are available in interesting shapes and colours, they are ultra-hardy and require very little water. Plus, because they have evolved in local soil, they require very little effort during planting.
Here are some of our most popular native grasses:
- Tanika is an evergreen native grass that has become an Australian garden staple thanks to its reliability, frost and drought tolerance, soft leaves and small yellow flowers that appear in spring. It’s a great choice for borders, specimen planting and mass planting. It likes full sun or part shade in well-drained soil, and is very low maintenance, requiring watering only during very hot, dry periods.
- Lomandra longifolia, also known as basket grass or spiny-headed mat-rush, is hardy and lives a long time. It has glossy strappy leaves, and it flowers with fragrant yellow flowers in spring. It’s a great, low-effort filler and background plant, that can also be used for specimen or mass planting and even median strip or roadside planting. It can handle full sun or part shade in most soil conditions and will tolerate drought, frost, damp and even flooding.
- Lomandra longifolia katrinus, also called mat-rush, is a shorter variety, with finer, dark green foliage. It can be very impressive when mass planted but is also popular as a specimen plant. It tolerates drought, frost and wind and prefers sandy or heavy clay soils in sunny or moderate shady positions.
- Little con is a dense, clumping grass that is great as a border and edging plant for driveways and paths. It's also striking as a pot plant with its pom-pom like bright green foliage and spring yellow flowers. It tolerates frost and salt, and full sun to moderate shade, as long as it gets moist, well-drained soil.
- Dianella Tas Red is a tough and reliable garden plant that tolerates both frost and heat, and full sun and heavy shade. It has beautiful wide leaves and large purple berries, and can get a red colour in the base or reddish tinges in its green leaves. It looks excellent when mass planted, but is also suitable for accent planting. It requires heavy pruning every few years, but is otherwise unfussy.
- Dianella Cassa blue has impressive blue foliage and one of the longest Dianella flowering periods, with masses of purple and yellow flowers from September to November. It’s a compact size and shape and can be both mass planted or used as a feature plant. and its compact size and shape makes it suitable for any home or commercial garden. It needs very well-drained soils and needs major pruning every few years.
- Mondo grass is probably the most popular and well known native grass. It’s a spiky evergreen perennial that is tolerant of both sun and shade, as well as drought, making it a good option for Australian gardens.
How far apart to plant mondo grass, flax and other grass plants
When planting grasses, separate them into clumps, making sure each clump has roots on it. Plant smaller varieties 5 to 10 centimetres apart, and larger varieties 10 to 30 centimetres apart. If you want faster ground cover, plant them closer but be aware that the end result may look cramped.
How to plant cat grass
Cat grass is often planted for the benefit of indoor cats who don’t have access to gardens, as it’s good for their digestion. It grows quickly and can be grown easily indoors on a windowsill or outdoors.
How to plant cat grass is just a matter of sprinkling seeds onto a tray of potting mix, watering well and keeping in a sunny spot. Once it’s started to grow, you can sprinkle in new seeds every week or so, so it grows indefinitely. Small pots or trays are fine, but if you can use a larger one, your cat may also enjoy sitting in the grass.