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Recommended alternatives to Stipa / Nassella tenuissima

Recommended alternative plant details

Have a gorgeous garden and a successful business — all with non-invasive plants! Below are recommended alternatives to the invaders in your region that are beautiful, vigorous, and appropriate for your climate.

If you are a home gardener, ask your nursery professional for even more ideas.

Plant Care Key

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'

Common name: Blue grama grass

Sun needs:
full sun
Water needs:
low waterdrought

    This plant grows well in the following regions:
  • Desert
  • Central Valley
  • Sierra and Coastal Mountains
  • South Coast

Blue grama grass 'Blonde Ambition' grows to the same size as Mexican feather grass. It is drought tolerant, has attractive flower heads, can be planted in mass, and is cold hardy. This species also grows in a wide range of soil types and, is terrific for low maintenance home or commercial landscapes.

Note: For best aesthetic in the spring, cut this plant back in the winter.

California native. Learn more at Calflora.

Sporobolus airoides

Common name: Prairie Dropseed

Sun needs:
full sunpart sun

Water needs:
low waterdrought

    This plant grows well in the following regions:
  • North and Central Coast
  • Desert
  • Central Valley
  • Sierra and Coastal Mountains
  • South Coast

Prairie dropseed is a graceful, fine-textured, clumping grass that is both tough and good-looking. It contains deep-roots and is drought-tolerant. This species is excellent for massing in hot, dry areas and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions.

California native. Learn more at Calflora.

Muhlenbergia dubia

Common name: Pine Muhly, Mexican Deer Grass

Sun needs:
full sunpart sun

Water needs:
low waterdrought

    This plant grows well in the following regions:
  • North and Central Coast
  • Central Valley
  • Sierra and Coastal Mountains
  • South Coast

This species is a great looking grass that is similar in appearance but about half the size of the more commonly used California Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens). This plant is a good choice for mass planting. Little supplemental irrigation is required but it can handle more regular irrigation if soil drains well.

Note: There have been reports that this plant is not subject to much browsing by deer. It is hardy to USDA Zone 7 (0-10 F°).

Muhlenbergia capillaris / M. capillaris 'White Cloud'

Common name: Pink Muhlygrass / White Awn Grass

Sun needs:
full sunpart sun

Water needs:
low waterdrought

    This plant grows well in the following regions:
  • North and Central Coast
  • Desert
  • Central Valley
  • South Coast

Muhlenbergia capillaris, commonly called pink muhlygrass, is a clump-forming, warm season, perennial grass that is noted for its attractive summer foliage and spectacular clouds of fall flowers. The average plant size is three feet high by six feet wide. The foliage is narrow-leaved and evergreen in mild winter areas.

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (White Awn Muhly) is a medium-sized grass forming a clump of narrow blue-green foliage 2 to 3 feet tall. In fall, the flower stems rise another foot or more above the foliage holding an airy mass of delicate ivory-white flowers. It is a little larger and stiffer with a more upright habit than the familiar Pink Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and it also blooms a little later.

Sesleria autumnalis

Common name: Autumn Moor Grass

Sun needs:
full sunpart sun

Water needs:
low waterdrought

    This plant grows well in the following regions:
  • North and Central Coast
  • Central Valley
  • South Coast

Autumn moor grass is a cool season, clump-forming ornamental grass which typically grows 8-12" tall with narrow flower spikes rising above the foliage clump in summer to 18" tall. Flowers give way in autumn to silvery-white inflorescences. Attractive, narrow, yellow-green foliage (to 3/16" wide).

Mass under trees or in full sun as a ground cover.

Return to the Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) details page.