Source: California Invasive Plant Council

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Don't Plant a Pest

Ornamental grasses of the Central Coast region

Invasive plants are listed in red boxes. Alternatives are listed below in green.
Invasive plants that are also a fire hazard are identified by this symbol: 

Invasive! Do Not Plant! Invasive!

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giant cane or giant reed
Arundo donax
This grass grows along streamsides, where it can reach over 20 feet tall. It grows in dense thickets that clog waterways and is a fire hazard. When clumps of arundo are washed downstream during storms, they become trapped against bridges and create a maintenance problem where they land. Arundo creates less shade than the native trees it replaces, increasing water temperatures to a level that is dangerous for native fish.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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jubatagrass or pampasgrass
Cortaderia jubata or Cortaderia selloana
Wind can carry the tiny seeds of these plants up to 20 miles. The massive size of each pampas grass plant with its accumulated litter reduces wildlife habitat, limits recreational opportunities in conservation areas, and creates a fire hazard.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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green fountain grass
Pennisetum setaceum
Spreads aggressively by seed into natural areas by wind, water, or vehicles. Fast grower; impedes the growth of locally native plant species and eventually takes over natural areas. Also raises fuel loads and fire frequency in natural areas. Is spreading rapidly in California. Existing research indicates that red varieties of fountain grass (P. setaceum 'Rubrum' are not invasive.
Key to plant care
Try these plants instead

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San Diego sedge
Carex spissa
full sunpart sunlow water
This large sedge has a form similar to that of an ornamental grass. Produces gray leaves to five feet tall and yellow, grass-like flowers in the spring. Deer resistant.

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deer grass
Muhlenbergia rigens
full sunpart sunlow waterdrought
This large, perennial, California native has dense clusters of narrow, bright green leaf blades and tall, slender flower stalks. Bold enough to be used as a focal point of the garden, it also partners well with other perennials, flowers, and shrubs. Once established, deer grass is extremely drought tolerant and fits in well with a water-conscious California garden. Other Muhlenbergia species can also be good choices.

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Lindheimer's muhly grass
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri
full sunpart sunmedium waterlow waterdrought
This large, dependable, and showy ornamental grass has blue-gray foliage and flowering spikes in the fall and winter. Good in poor soils, it grows up to five feet tall. Works well as a specimen plant or massed into an attractive border.

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Cape thatching reed
Chondropetalum tectorum
full sunpart sunhigh water
This decorative, "grass-like" plant produces attractive flowers that are ideal in cut flower arrangements. Grows three to four feet tall.

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New Zealand flax
Phormium tenas
full sunpart sunmedium waterlow waterdrought
Although not a true grass, New Zealand flax fills a function in the landscape similar to many of popular ornamental grasses. Individual plants are large, hardy, and require minimal care while offering a bold point of interest to any garden. Numerous varieties and hybrids are available in a range of sizes and leaf colors, including many with striking stripes of red, yellow, and green. Deer resistant.