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Festuca californica (California Fescue)

California Fescue, Festuca hitchcockianus

Festuca californica, California Fescue, Festuca hitchcockianus, Evergreen Grass, Meadow Grass, California Native Grasses, California Native Plants

Long-lived, Festuca californica (California Fescue) is a semi-evergreen, fountain-like perennial grass forming a mound of gracefully drooping, pale green to blue-green leaves, up to 24 in. tall (60 cm). In spring and early summer, elegant flowering stems rise up to 1-2 ft. (30-60 cm) above the foliage. They boast delicate gray-blue sprays turning to a wheat color over time. Native to the Coast Ranges from Northern California and Oregon, this handsome ornamental grass is mostly grown for its tidy foliage, which brings interest to the landscape year-round in warm winter areas. Aside from its foliage interest, it is drought tolerant once established, virtually trouble-free, and requires little maintenance. Use as a specimen or massed as a groundcover. It can be planted in large drifts on slopes for erosion control. It is a good understory plant to California native oaks.

  • Grows up to 1-4 ft. tall (30-120 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade in dry to moist, well-drained loamy or clay, soils. Grows poorly in sandy soils, but tolerates serpentine soils. Drought tolerant, although it looks better with some summer water.
  • This is a great candidate for beds and borders or as a groundcover.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Deer resistant.
  • Remove damaged foliage for a neat planting.
  • Propagate by seed (no treatment).
  • Native to California and Oregon.

 

Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 11
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Genus Festuca
Common names Fescue
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 4'
(30cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 24" - 36"
(60cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants California, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, United States
Tolerance Drought, Deer
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ground Covers, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Festuca ovina (Sheep Fescue)
Festuca rubra (Red Fescue)
Festuca idahoensis (Idaho Fescue)
Festuca glauca ‘Beyond Blue’ (Blue Fescue)
Festuca glauca ‘Blaufuchs’ (Blue Fescue)
Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ (Blue Fescue)

Recommended Companion Plants

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon)
Umbellularia californica (California Laurel)
Erigeron glaucus (Seaside Daisy)
Iris douglasiana (Douglas Iris)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Native Plant Alternatives to Festuca rubra (Red Fescue)
Great Ornamental Grasses for your Winter Garden
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 11
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Genus Festuca
Common names Fescue
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 4'
(30cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 24" - 36"
(60cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants California, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, United States
Tolerance Drought, Deer
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ground Covers, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Festuca (Fescue)
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Festuca (Fescue)
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