Tufted Hair Grass Growing Guide

Deschampsia cespitosa

Tufted Hair Grass

Crop Rotation Group



Fertile soil that holds moisture well.


Part shade.

Frost tolerant

Established plants of tufted hair grass are winter hardy to -30°F (-34°C).


None needed.


Single Plants: 1' 11" (60cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 1' 11" (60cm) with 1' 11" (60cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Tufted hair grass makes most of its growth in cool weather, so set out purchased plants starting in early spring. Tufted hair grass also can be grown from seeds sown in fall, or in seedling flats outdoors from spring to early summer. Set plants out when they are large enough to handle during a period of wet weather. Young plants need water to become established, and grow best in moist sites. Should the center of a feature clump start dying out, dig the clump in spring and use a sharp knife or hatchet to cut the healthy parts into several chunks. Replant immediately.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


A beautiful, fine-textured cool-season grass native to colder sections of North America, Eurasia and South America, tufted hair grass grows into a compact clump, or tussock, topped with airy seed heads in late summer. One of the few ornamental grasses that grows in partial shade, tufted hair grass is native to the moist edges of wetlands or other damp places. In some areas tufted hair grass is listed as in need of protection, so growing this grass can be a significant act of environmental restoration. It is a host plant for several butterflies and moths, and wild birds eat the nutritious seeds. A few named cultivars are available, including variegated ‘Northern Lights’, which is sometimes used in containers. In early spring, mow or clip off old growth to make way for new leaves. Tufted hair grass is very long lived and requires no maintenance beyond annual mowing.



Too much water and fertilizer can make tufted hair grass develop problems with root rot. Deer and other animals may browse the foliage in spring. Tufted hair grass cannot tolerate high heat or drought.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Tufted Hair Grass