Festuca pulchella

This is a very elegant soft fescue. Since it is a bit slow growing in our hot dry climate, it has taken me a few seasons to realize its refined beauty. Used as a specimen in a pot it can be the main feature, needing only a few small-leaved sedums spilling over the sides. Used in drifts or massed, F. pulchella becomes a kinetic landscape, catching even the light winds as they move over its airy foliage.

This is also a well-behaved plant for the border. I have not noticed any self-sowing, but that is not to say that it won't happen in other areas.

In these water-wise times all fescues deserve a closer examination.

Description: cool season; clump forming
Foliage: blue-green; narrow blade width; 10-15 cm (4-6") tall; sharp and spikey upright leaves
Flowers in June; 15-20 cm (6-8") in height

Ideal conditions: full sun to part shade; well-drained soil; heat and drought tolerant

Zone: 4-7 (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Partner with: Festuca gautieri, Helictotrichon, Schizachyrium 'Itasca,' Sedums, Sempervirens, Allium flavum, rock garden plants

Season of interest: year-round in mild climates

Suggested uses: specimen, container, drifts, masses, groups, sunny border

Recommended plant spacing: 15-30 cm (6-12") why such a difference?

Drought tolerance rating: 1 (water to root depth once every month); further info

Native to: Central and southern Europe

Pronounciation: Festuca (fes-TOO-kah) punctoria (punk-TOR-ee-ah)


More ornamental grasses

Compare Festuca punctoria to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Festuca pulchella