Content Detail

Tufted hair grass is a clump forming, cool season grass. This grass has a wide natural range, being found in Europe, Asia, and North America.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Grass
  • Family (botanic) Poaceae
  • Tree or plant type Grass, Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Wet sites
  • Season of interest mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Other
  • Shape or form Mounded

Size and Form: 

Tufted hair grass forms mounds of foliage about 1 to 2 feet tall. When the flowering stalks rise above the foliage, the plant height will reach 3 feet.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Native to all continents of the northern hemisphere. C-Value: 10.  

Leaf description: 

The narrow, green leaves will form dense tufts 1 to 2 feet tall. In milder climates, the leaves remain evergreen or semi-evergreen. In colder climates, leaves will go dormant and will develop yellowish tips.

Flower description: 

Flowering occurs in late spring, typically May and June. The tiny, purplish-green flowers occur in open, airy clusters (panicles). The flowers are wind pollinated.

Fruit description: 

The small fruit (caryopsis or grains) form along the branches of the open panicles that held the flowers. The fruits are tiny, but produced in great abundance, so they make a great display in summer.

Plant care:

Tufted hair grass prefers moist soils and partial shade. This is a cool season grass, so its most active growth occurs in spring and fall. It does poorly in hot, dry situations. This grass may remain semi-evergreen through winter in milder climates, and can act as winter interest. In milder climates, cut back in early spring before new growth begins. In cooler climates, the grass can be cut down in late autumn or early spring.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

None serious.

These plants are cultivars of a species that is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.

Bronzeschleier (Bronze Veil) tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Bronzeschleier’):

This cultivar is a little larger than the species and produces an abundance of bronze-yellow flowers.

Goldgehaenge (Gold Pendant) tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldgehaenge’):

Flowers are golden-yellow.

Goldschleier (Gold Veil) tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldschleier’): 

Bright yellow flowers distinguish this cultivar.

Goldstaub (Gold Dust) tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Gold Staub):  

Yellow flowers.

Schottland (Scotland) tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Schottland’):

Larger than the species, with cream-colored flowers.

Tardiflora tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Tardiflora’)

Flowers are produced in late summer.

Tautraeger tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Tautraeger’):  

Flower clusters are slender.


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