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Chasmanthium latifolium (northern sea oats)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Chasmanthium latifolium

northern sea oats

A versatile native grass with bamboo-like foliage and delightful nodding seed heads that rustle in the breeze from late summer to winter. It grows in most sites and is a quite vigorous groundcover when given consistent moisture and sun. It is better behaved in average garden conditions and in shade. A unique cut flower in fresh or dry arrangements.

Chasmanthium latifolium - 50 per flat Availability
Chasmanthium latifolium LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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3 Feet


2-3 Feet


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 5-8

northern sea oats Interesting Notes

Chasmanthium latifolium is a treat in the garden. A tall, clump-forming, upright ornamental grass, it grows 2’-4’ tall with very distinguished seedheads. The flat seedheads droop, stirring and waving in the breeze, turning a lovely honey brown in the fall as the low warm light hits them. The seedheads keep well for flower arrangements and river oats stay upright through winter providing textural interest and movement in a winter garden.

Endemic to the eastern United States, Northern sea oats most often occurs in rich woods or rocky slopes along streams and on moist bluffs. Adaptable in full sun to shade in moist sites to dry areas in average garden soil to clay to leanif a garden design has the space for it, Chasmanthium latifolium would be a welcome addition. It prefers areas with moist fertile soils in and in optimum conditions, will self-sow enthusiastically.

Wonderful to plant on banks for erosion control and in wild areas with minimal management, we place Chasmanthium latifolium anywhere that we need a bold stroke of texture and coverage. It is great for suppressing other weeds, has high salt tolerance, and is a host plant for a several species of Roadside Skippers.

Chasmanthium latifolium Growing and Maintenance Tips

Chasmanthium latifolium is a great choice for stabilization of a stream bank or a shady hill. It is happiest in a moist, partly shady site, but in such a place it will roam rampantly. In a drier location it is kept in check, but still looks lovely. Excellent salt tolerance. Propagate by division and seed.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Salt Tolerance
Salt Tolerance
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Erosion Control
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Upland (FACU)
Plug Type
Horticultural Plug
Landscape Plug™
Native to North America
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Propagation Type
Open pollinated
Grass Type
Warm Season