Mexican Feather Grass: Substitution

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PLANTS & HORTICULTURE Mexican Feather Grass: Substitution

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Author
  • #176273
    Andrew Spiering

    I would like to find an adequate substitution for the beautiful but invasive, Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima). I was thinking about using Purple three-awn (Aristida purpurea) seen below. Anyone have experience using this or have another idea for a substitution?

    Thanks in advance!

    nick lowe

    What is your climate zone? We use pink muhly grass it is a native to the united states.

    Andrew Spiering

    I am in the Bay Area of Northern California, so the climate zone vary. We use pink muhly here, as well, and I am a huge fan.



    I’ve been using alot of the following:

    Miscanthus sinensis (Maiden Grass)

    Blue Avena (can’t rememeber horticultural name)

    Schyzochyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)

    al fathi

    imho, try Pennisetum setaceum. its versatile and share similar traits.

    David J. Chirico

    Looks a little like Karl Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass, Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

    Rob Halpern

    Ornamental grasses are quickly becoming a serious source of invasives in many parts of the country. Miscanthus has gotten completely out of hand in some areas, Pennisetum too.
    In the Central part of the country, Eragrostis trichodes has a texture similar to Nasella, if soil and watering conditions will suit. But it is not native to California, so what will it do there? (In the Bay Area I suspect very little problem, but inland it could be different)
    The Bay Area has so many weird micro-climates that it is difficult to make suggestions without doing all the homework (What works at the western ends of Golden Gate Park is not the same as in Oakland)

    Don’t neglect the sedges

    Jon Quackenbush

    Precisely why I am all for the exclusive use of native to your area plants, especially is large scale projects. Why fight what nature has adapted to for your area? Have some pride in your bio-region!

    I am seriously considering starting a native tree and shrub nursery, its unfortunate that a vast majority aren’t available.

    Tanya Olson

    I agree with Rob H. on this one – be sure to check out the sedges. They also tend to be very fine textured. Also Sporobolus airoides – like the sedges, not hair-fine like the Nassella. The Aristida is gorgeous, though if you can get it. I like it better than the Nassella!
    Also check Festuca mairei – very similar to the Aristida. I’ve used it before in Petaluma and got lots of compliments (and its a bit of a departure from the typical Festuca californica). Its available (plus lots of sedges) from Cornflower Farms.

    Andrew Spiering

    Excellent suggestions! I was curious about Aristida, but I have not seen it used so I was a bit hesitant. Do you have any pictures of it in one of your designs?

    Thanks again!

    Andrew Spiering

    Good call. Sedges are wonderful. Do you have one in particular that you favor?

    Tanya Olson

    Looking at my sentence, it read like I have used the aristida. I’ve used the Festuca mairei. I think this might be it (see attached pic). I used F. californica on the same project I think, so I might be mistaken. has a list of nurseries where the A. purpurea is available. It even has a cultivar – ‘Chino Hills’.


    I couldn’t find it in any of the nurseries here in SoCal since it is warm season, but I just bought Aristida purpurea seeds from Theodore Payne Society. I’ll post pictures in a few months…

    Thomas J. Johnson

    Muhlenbergia capilaris


    Aristida purpurea

    jennifer Bloch

    i like muhlenbergia regal mist – purple capillaris muhly for the green wispyness. and fall color.

     also helicotrichon sempervirens (it’s a little more rigid and structural but it has a nice texture – also great silver blue/green coloration)

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Lost Password