Ornamental grasses and allergies

Discussion in 'Small Space Gardening' started by Unregistered, May 3, 2005.

  1. I am interested in creating a prairie inspired landscape in my smallish backyard. I would like to use a variety of ornamental grasses with a minimal number of flowers. I have heard that large flowering plants are better for allergy sufferers, because they use their blooms (rather than profuse amounts of pollen) to reproduce. I am the kind of person who takes two daily medications for allergies and am allergic to grass, trees, pollen, etc. Does this mean grasses will cause me fits?

    I would be grateful to anyone that can 1) tell me whether grasses are bad for allergies and 2) give suggestions about grasses that might be better for allergies. (And that can survive Wisconsin winters!)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Candy

    Candy Active Member

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    Burnaby, B.C. Zone 7ish
    I just bought "Creating a Low-Allergen Garden" by Lucy Huntington. She says most ornamental grasses are a problem, including (1)Pampas grass, (2)Blue fescue grass, (3)Gardener's garters, (4)Feather grass.

    She suggests as alternatives: (1)New Zealand flax/Phormium tenax Zones 7-10 Sword-shaped, stiff, dark green leaves; (2)Thrift/Armeria maritima Zones 4-8 White, pink or red-purple flowerheads. (3) Daylily/hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso variegata'. Vigorous clump-forming perennial with attractive foliage and large orange flowers. (4) Gypsophila paniculata Zones 3-9, bears numerous small flowers in summer.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I cannot work among Helictotrichon sempervirens in flower without wearing a mask.
     
  4. devongirl

    devongirl Member

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    I also have allergies but have not had any problems with my new Carex Bronco. It is pretty cool looking, small right now but the most unusual coppery cinnamon color. Very interesting to add to the garden.
     

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  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    This is not a grass, of course, so it may not affect hay fever sufferers.
     
  6. devongirl

    devongirl Member

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    Are you refering to my Carex Bronco? Not an ornamental grass? It was in the ornamental grass section of the nursery I got it from. The tag had zero information on it, other than the name so I did some online research and they all refered to it as an ornamental grass. I'm new to gardening so that is what I believed to be as true.
    here is one of the sites I got some information on it:
    http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/1879/

    if you are not refering to my post, my apologizes!
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Ron is referring to your plant, yes - but that's because the genus Carex is actually a sedge (a member of the Cyperaceae). Grasses are members of the Poaceae.

    Here's a good starter on telling the difference:

    Grasses, Sedges and Rushes - Telling the Difference
     
  8. devongirl

    devongirl Member

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    Wonderful information, thank you for that!
    I learned something new today, thanks!
    Wonder if I should pass this on to the nursery?? I'm sure they just called anything with that look to it a grass.
    Thanks again!
     
  9. Puddleton

    Puddleton Active Member 10 Years

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    Carex "bronco" is actually Carex buchannii or the leather sedge. she rots pretty easily and is very lousy at recovering after a savage boy prune.

    keep your eyes out for seslaria, she's a wee cutey
     
  10. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    Carex is technically a sedge but does look like and is used as an ornamental 'grass'.
     
  11. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    No point mentioning it the nursery....who would know to go to the Sedge section to get their Carex. From a retail point of view, if it looks like a grass, it's a grass.
     

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