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Deschampsia flexuosa (wavy hairgrass)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Deschampsia flexuosa

wavy hairgrass

A delightful and elegant native, this diminutive grass thrives in dry shade. Fine-textured and delicate in appearance, it is tough and drought tolerant, ideal for planting in any well-drained shady location as a groundcover. In spring it is topped with graceful feathery flowers that are lovely as they move quietly in the breeze.

SIZE
Deschampsia flexuosa LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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Height

6-18 Inches

Spread

1-2 ft

Spacing

12 Inches

Bloom Color

Green

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

wavy hairgrass Interesting Notes

A delightful and elegant native, this diminutive grass thrives in dry shade. Fine-textured and delicate in appearance, Deschampsia flexuosa is tough and drought tolerant, ideal for planting in any well-drained shady location as a groundcover. In spring it is topped with graceful feathery flowers that are lovely as they move quietly in the breeze. A cool season bunchgrass with a mounding habit, Deschampsia flexuosa has elegant, finely-textured foliage that grows 12” tall with inflorescences reaching 30” and spreading up to 2’ wide. The panicle flowers turn gold come late summer and fall, adding a lovely textural feature to the shade garden.


Deschampsia flexuosa is a circumglobal species, spanning from the northern hemisphere across North America to Europe to Asia. Growing in dry cool climates from forest clearings, open woodlands, rocky slopes, and shorelines, it even thrives in disturbed sites.  The plants can tolerate drought and have a preference for acidic soil. They grow in partial shade to full shade in well-drained soils in mesic or xeric soils. To maintain a tidy appearance, cut back old growth in late winter or early spring.


We find it to work in great in combination with Phlox divaricataCarex plantaginea, and ferns in our shade gardens, providing a groundcover and erosion control in sloping areas. Deschampsia is host to over 40 Lepidopteran species worldwide and the foliage is a plant food host to several different butterfly species larvae. 

Deschampsia flexuosa Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow in shade or part shade, average to dry soil with good drainage. Cut back seed stalks in late winter to early spring. To propagate, divide in spring or fall. 

Good Substitutions

tufted hairgrass Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldtau'
tufted hairgrass Deschampsia cespitosa

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Groundcover
Groundcover
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Early Spring
Early Spring

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Dry
Average
Green Infrastructure
Meadow/Prairie
Green Roof
Lawn Alternative
Woodland
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Upland (FACU)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Attributes
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated
Grass Type
Cool Season