Remove and replace Stipa Tenuissima with...?

15 September, 2019


I completely understand that Stipa Tenuissima is a very popular plant, but I'm just not keen on them in my garden. So I'm looking to remove them, but I'm really struggling to find any advice on what I can replace them with that will still provide some variety to my perennial boarders in terms of height, colour and texture.

Any advice or thoughts would be massively appreciated - every where I look people are just recommending more grasses.

A little more info if useful...

Our garden is a typical London garden, so not that large. It is south facing and can get a lot of sun. It's my first proper garden, so I am still learning, but really enjoying learning more each year. We currently have a combination of perennials such as Astilbes, Astrantia, Libertia chilensis, Knautia macedonica and Hebes along the slightly more shaded side, whilst on the other side we have a mixture of Salvia, Erysimum, Little Spires, Whirling butterflies, Agastache and Achilia.

I was convinced by my garden designer a few years ago to include a number of Stipa Tenuissama grasses to mix in with my perennials, on both sides, even though I wasn't a huge fan. I can see the how they can look good, however they are now starting to take over, they look messy and are drowning out some of my other plants. In some cases plants are now growing at strange angles just to get around them or not growing at all.

I tried cutting them back last year and this is my 3rd year giving them a go, but they just aren't working for me. Any advice hugely appreciated.


Comments (6)

  • Sonia

    Stipa is very fashionable at the moment to create a prairie vibe, and very popular with garden designers. Another lovely grass is Miscanthus, but they can be thuggish too! Perennials that I love and seem to grow well are

    Anemones (tall with pink or white flowers)

    Alchemilla mollis (shortish with acid green flowers)

    Crocosmia (tall spires of red or orange flowers)

    Erigeron (short pink flowers),

    Hemerocallis (lily like flowers in yellow, orange or pink)


    Geraniums (hardy) Rozanne is a small lovely blue, but there are loads of varieties

    Heres a few pics - sorry unable to upload photos for some reason!

    Geranium Rozanne

  • obobble

    Dogwood or shrubby willow would give you a similar shape and height, foliage during spring and summer and coloured stems in winter.

  • rachelmidlands

    I like the feather grass but I can understand how it can take over and get tangled amongst other plants. I keep mine in a pot so I can move it about:). How about an architectural plant? Perhaps a hardy yucca or the hardy banana palm ‘musa basjoo’. Maybe a giant succulent such as aloe or agave. All should do well in a sunny but sheltered site with plenty of drainage and may or may not need winter protection depending on variety. The large leaves would make a great contrast to your other plants. I have Yucca aloifolia Purpurea which I keep in an appropriate pineapple shape pot:) It keeps fairly narrow and is frost hardy to about -10c I think. Looks great amongst other plants and gets lots of compliments.

  • alilee77

    Hi All, thanks so much for your comments, so helpful and lots for me to start looking in to.

    I hadn't thought of putting the grasses in pots, perhaps I’ll try that with one or two of the ones I remove. I believe it’s possible to split them, so perhaps I do that to reduce their size a little this year. It might help to contain them a little.

    The dogwood looks really interesting, I love the coloured stems. I have an Acer on one side which has the lovely bright red branches during winter so perhaps I could use that to complement it or mirror it on the other side.

    Sonia - thank you for suggesting some other perennials that could work well. I’ve been eyeing up anemones for a while as I love them whenever I’ve seen them in other gardens, so thank you for convincing me to give them a go. I’ll try and spend a bit more time looking in to some of the others.

    Thanks again, all of your advice is very much appreciated.


  • Sonia

    Hi Alice, I’ll try and upload the pics I couldn’t upload last time. Anemones are really easy to grow, can be a little invasive, but so pretty. Here goes!





  • alilee77

    Thanks, appreciate you taking the time to find pictures.

    Just realised I bought some Erigeron to try and work round the base of a tree stump .

    thanks again.

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