In many movies cowboys ride through infinite expanses decorated with beautiful flowers. You can bring this flair to your home in the form of a prairie garden.
Endless expanses, hardly a tree far and wide, only grasses and wild flowers: you only know such a landscape from cowboy and Indian films? This is mostly the so-called prairie, a grass steppe on the North American continent. She has a very special charm. This is the one you can bring home. And that’s by creating a prairie garden. It is easy to clean and trendy. The selection of suitable grasses and flowers is also inexhaustible.
The maintenance effort for prairie gardens is also very limited. They do not need to be fertilized and only need to be watered regularly during the growth phase, later only during prolonged dry periods. The removal of weeds is also no longer an issue after two to three years, as the perennials have spread so far that a dense carpet has been created. In addition to the wild charm, there are also very tangible reasons for creating a prairie garden. But how is that done? And which plants fit in there? Let’s get all that straight.
Where does a prairie garden thrive best?
Place your prairie garden in a bright location so that the grasses are exposed to direct sunlight for four hours or more per day. Regarding the soil, prairie grasses and many matching flowers do not make high demands. Sandy subsoil is just as acceptable as humus-rich soil. However, good water permeability is important. If the soil is compacted, you can easily remedy the situation by adding coarse sand and pebbles.
Plant suggestions for your prairie garden
❖ Star ball leek (Allium cristophii):
- robust, persevering plant
- up to 60 cm high
- large, spherical inflorescences with star-shaped violet-coloured flowers
❖ Flattened ear grass (Chasmanthium latifolium):
- owes its name to the flat brown flowering spikes with a hint of pink
- can grow up to 100 cm high
- with golden yellow foliage for great optical effects in autumn
❖ Dewdrop grass (Sporobolus heterolepis):
- filigree North American prairie grass
- attractive contrast between green stalks and ochre flower panicles
- Blossoms smell wonderful
- with growth heights from 30 to 50 cm well suited for the edges of the prairie bed
❖ Fragrance nettle (Agastache rugusa):
- beautiful, up to 150 cm high perennial shrub
- splendid blue to violet inflorescences
- extended flowering period of more than two months
- attracts bees and birds
❖ Bearded grass (Andropogon gerardii):
- very undemanding, robust and long-lasting prairie grass
- attractive blue-green foliage that turns brown to reddish from autumn onwards
- Growth height can reach 150 cm
❖ cockade flower (Gaillardia):
- the cockade flower is a 30 to 80 cm high, bushy growing shrub
- colorful red flowers with yellow edges
- may need winter protection in very cold locations
- needs a lot of sun in any case and prefers sandy soils
❖ Mosquito grass (Bouteloua gracilis):
- grass native to Mexico with brown horizontal flowers
- grows 20 to 50 cm high
- fits well between colourful grasses and flowers thanks to its “optical tranquillity
- grows 20 to 40 cm high
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.