River Oats - Chasmanthium latifolium
River oat plants are a perennial grass that can provide ample ground cover in your garden or backyard. The plant grows well in a variety of different conditions. It can grow in moist soil, dry dirt, and in partial shade. It thrives best in acid sands or clay with plenty of sun exposure. The ornamental grass is also frequently used to prevent soil erosion near streams and river banks, hence its recognizable name. Gardeners often utilize the plant's height and clustering characteristics to generate shade. It's a low-maintenance option that reseeds itself yearly. It's also capable of spreading over time to achieve a fuller and more robust appearance. Fully grown, the grass can reach a height of up to four feet. However, this height is manipulated by one of the plant's most defining features.
At the end of each branch of grass is a cluster of seeds. The resulting spikelet is reminiscent of oats. The panicles grow as a translucent green color in early spring before maturing into vibrant ivory in mid-summer. In the following months, the seeds will dry up to a brown color before dropping off and reseeding the plant for a new life next year. The seed clusters weigh down the slender green branches to create an attractive arch that sways in light breezes. Blue-green leaves complement branches. The leaves and their accompanying branches can take on a bright yellow-gold color during the autumn season.
During their time on the plant, seeds will attract wildlife to your property. They're a favorite treat to numerous bird species, rodents, and even deer. Deer will eat the grains right off the branch. River oats can bring life to wherever you choose to plant it. They're easy to establish and require little care. They're capable of providing you with a beautiful backdrop from Spring to Fall. The individual seed stalks can also be preserved in beautiful flower arrangements.