Anthoxanthum odoratum - Sweet Vernal Grass, Vanilla Grass

Sweet vernal grass is grown for the sweet scent in its leaves and flowers. It is easy to grow and will self-sow freely to fill in an area by the end of the first season. One customer planted a large area on a bank below a deck and each spring through early summer the breeze off the ocean fills the landscape with a sweet scent.

The origin of this pretty grass is Eurasia and it is grown in many parts of North America.

Some people add a few flowers to their tea!

Description: clump forming; cool season; evergreen in mild climates
Foliage - medium width, green; 30 cm (12") tall
Flowers - May to June; 35 cm (14"); sweetly scented

Ideal growing conditions: full sun to part shade; average to poor soil; drought tolerant once established; very adaptable but prefers acid soil

Coldest zone: 4-9 (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Season of interest: spring through fall

Partner with: Allium sinensis ssp montanum, Pycanthemum muticum, Carex caryophyllea 'Beatlmania'

Recommended spacing between plants: 40-75 cm (16-30") why such a difference?

Drought tolerance rating: 4 (water to root depth when soil starts to dry); further info

Native to: Eurasia, but is found growing in the wild in much of North America

Pronunciation: Anthoxanthum (an-thoh-zan-thum) odoratum (oh-doh-ray-tum)

Sizes available: flat of 25 plugs


More ornamental grasses

Compare Anthoxanthum ordoratum to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Anthoxanthum odoratum - Sweet vernal grass