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Ornamental grasses and grasslike plants

Rushes somewhat resemble grasses, with leaflike, cylindrical stems and tiny, inconspicuous flowers clustered near stem tips. Specialists usually suggest planting them with grasses or aquatic plants at the edge of a pond or stream, in shallow water, or among stones and pebbles.

Juncus effusus

Native to many temperate regions of the world. To 2 1/2 ft. high and wide. Medium green stems are 1/8 to 1/4 in. thick; erect at first, they arch somewhat toward tips. Stems turn brown with frost.

Juncus patens ‘Carman’s Gray’, photo courtesy of Mark Turner
Juncus patens ‘Carman’s Gray’, photo courtesy of Mark Turner

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Juncus patens

Native to California and Oregon. To 2 ft. high and wide, with stiffly upright green or gray-green stems. Tolerates more heat and drought than J. effusus but thrives in moist soil or shallow water. ‘Carman’s Gray’ is a good gray-stemmed selection.

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