5 tips for overwintering grasses

5 tips for overwintering grasses

Hoffman Nursery provides pointers on getting good-looking plants at the earliest possible time.

November 30, 2016

Editor's note: this post originally appeared on North Carolina wholesale grower Hoffman Nursery's blog. It is used here by permission.

Why overwinter grasses? By overwintering cool-season grasses, you’ll be ready for early-spring customers. You can get a head start on finishing warm-season grasses when they are overwintered in a cold frame or hot house. Annual grasses overwintered in a hot house allow you to have full plants with good color at the earliest possible time.

Tip #1

Keep containerized grasses on the dry side. During winter, warm-season grasses go dormant, and cool-season plants slow their growth, so their water needs are minimal. Grasses are susceptible to rotting and root damage if overwatered.

Tip #2

Cool-season grasses work well in a cold frame or in a house kept just above freezing.

Cool season grass Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' is content in February in the Hoffman Nursery cold frams.
Cool season grass Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ is content in February in the Hoffman Nursery cold frames.

Tip #3

Do you have a hot house? If so, get a head start with annual grasses. The colorful, tender Pennisetum selections are in demand early in the season—perfect for decorative containers and annual color beds.

Tip #4

If you overwinter outside, you may need to cover outdoor containers during rainfall or severe cold to prevent rot or damage. Panicum species and cultivars can do well outside of a cold frame with some monitoring.

Tip #5

The majority of grasses, including the popular Calamagrostis, Chasmanthium, Miscanthus, Muhlenbergia, and Schizachyrium overwinter best in a cold frame.

Cold frames protect uninsulated roots in above-ground containers and prevent rain from oversoaking plants.


Cold frames protect uninsulated roots in above-ground containers and prevent rain from oversoaking plants.

For more growing help, see our Container Production page. For a broader look at all aspects of grasses and sedges, visit our Learn section. Happy successful winter growing!

All photos courtesy Hoffman Nursery.