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10 Perennials for the Northeast


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Miscanthus

If you've been around miscanthus at all, you've almost certainly noticed it. The morning light variety is the ornamental grass that screams "island paradise" (even in the Northeast) when backlit by the sun with its large, pink-orange blooms, which dry beautifully for indoor arrangement, and fountainlike foliage, and the zebragrass type is one of the most unique-looking grasses you see in a landscaped space.

A welcome addition in any setting -- landscape architects have been using it for centuries to add height, color and drama -- miscanthus can be especially useful in the Northeast, where winter can steal so much interest from your outdoor space [source: FloriData]. Miscanthus, while most stunning in full color, is still impressive in winter, as its tall spikes of grass can survive the cold and make a winter garden look a lot less barren.

Miscanthus is easy to grow in full sun and moist, well-drained soil, and varieties of this grass can range from 2 feet to 9 feet (0.6 to 2.7 meters) tall. They won't spread, reaching a maximum width of 2 to 5 feet (0.6 to 1.5 meters) and staying clumped, so you can place it precisely as a center piece, in a row along a wall or fence, or in a line as a soft privacy border.

Finally, a lovely perennial with a funny name ...