Plants that grow well in the shade tend to flower in the spring or the fall. When planting a shade garden you need to be aware of this and plan for it. In nature you find grasses and ferns in shady areas. Grasses provide cover for insects and small animals. Northern Sea Oats is a great plant to use in the shade. This unusual grass is larval host for Pepper and salt skipper butterfly, Bells road side skipper butterfly, and the Bronzed roadside skipper butterfly. The seeds are eaten by birds. This grass provides lost of interesting foliage, seed heads and color. Adding grasses to your native garden makes them look natural.
Northern sea oats is a truly beautiful plant the seed heads are oat -like tassels that work well in arrangements. The seeds start out light green and fade to tan in the fall.
The plant itself is clump forming with bright green arching foliage that turns bronze in the winter. You need to be careful that the plant doesn't self sow too much. I have never had this problem but I have read about it self sowing profusely. The plant is easily transplanted if this becomes a problem. This is a good plant to control erosion on stream banks.
Northern sea oats grows best in shade to part shade. It will tolerate full sun but may turn yellow. The plant is not fussy about soil moisture but may form a colony in moist soil, similar to what Canada anemone does in moist soils. Use Northern Sea oats for your woodland garden, beds and border, and as a cut flower. Usually grows 2 to 3 feet tall this will vary depending on soil type and moisture.
Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern sea oats
-A clumping grass that grows in shade or part shade
-Birds will use for nesting material
-Provides cover for animals
-Larval host for butterflies
-Height: 30 to 36 inches
-Zone: 4 to 8