Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Festuca Glauca

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Festuca glauca (03/12/2011, London)

Festuca glauca (03/12/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering Period: Early summer

Soil: Well Drained, Moist

Eventual Height: 15cm

Eventual Spread: 25cm

Hardiness: USDA 4a – 10b

Family: Poaceae

Festuca glauca is an ornamental semi-evergreen perennial grass with a clump forming growth habit, forming a hummock shape. It’s foliage is finely textured and thread like with a blue gray in color. The leaves of the grass are erect to arching in character, with the needle like blades radiating upwards and outwards to a length of up to 20cm. The flowers of the plant are light green in color with a purple tinge appearing in the terminal panicles, these are not particularly showy and achieve a height of 25cm.

Festuca glauca, commonly known as the Blue Fescue, Blue Mountain Grass, and Grey Fescue, is native to Europe. Many of the horticultural cultivars were selected in German nurseries. It was originally described by French naturalist Dominique Villars.

The etymological root of the binomial name Festuca is derived from the Latin festuca ’stalk or straw’. Glauca is derived from the Greek glaucous ‘blue grey’.

Festuca glauca may be useful to the landscape architect as a low ground cover plant, when planted en mass, producing a distinctive hummocky texture. Once established this plant is drought tolerant.

The Royal Horticultural Society has awarded the variety F. glauca ‘Blaufuchs’ their prestigious award of Garden Merit 1993.

F. glauca prefers moist, well drained soil. It can tolerate quite poor soils and dry conditions. It will not tolerate heavy, wet soils or constantly high humidity.

Maintenance: This plant requires little maintenance. It may need to be replaced every 3-4 years as the centre tend to die out. Regenerative pruning may be carried out in late winter.

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