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Festuca rubra (Red Fescue)

Red Fescue, Creeping Fescue Grass, Red Fescue Grass

Festuca rubra, Red Fescue, Creeping Fescue Grass, Red Fescue Grass, Drought Tolerant Fescue

Popular as mown turfgrass, Festuca rubra (Red Fescue) is a cool-season grass forming tufts of arching, narrow, dark green blades. One of the most shade tolerant lawn grasses, it tolerates many habitats, and climates and is not fussy about soils. It makes a lovely lush green grass for shady spots where most turfgrasses will not grow. It is beneficial for erosion control and is a good lawn substitute. Unmowed, Red Fescue creates an attractive lush meadow look. It is often mixed with other varieties for the production of dense and compact turf. Red Fescue is also a nutritious forage grass for wild and domestic animals, but it is resistant to browsing by deer.

  • Grows up to 12-24 in. tall and wide (30-60 cm). Runs strongly by creeping rhizomes.
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soils. This grass has a good drought tolerance.
  • Does not need to be cut back but can be cut back in summer if desired. Can be mowed at about 2 to 3 in. (5-7 cm).
  • Propagate by division.
  • Native to Europe and North America. Festuca rubra may become weedy or invasive in some U.S. regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed.
  • Find where this species is invasive in the United States.
  • Discover beautiful U.S. native plant alternatives.

Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Genus Festuca
Common names Red Fescue, Fescue
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 12" - 24"
(30cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low, Average
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, California, Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Alaska, Northeast, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Montana
Tolerance Drought, Deer
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Ground Covers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Do I Need?
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Festuca californica (California Fescue)
Festuca ovina (Sheep Fescue)
Festuca idahoensis (Idaho Fescue)
Festuca glauca ‘Beyond Blue’ (Blue Fescue)
Festuca glauca ‘Blaufuchs’ (Blue Fescue)
Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ (Blue Fescue)

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 2 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3
Plant Type Ornamental Grasses
Plant Family Poaceae
Genus Festuca
Common names Red Fescue, Fescue
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 12" - 24"
(30cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low, Average
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, California, Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Alaska, Northeast, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Montana
Tolerance Drought, Deer
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Ground Covers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Festuca (Fescue)
Guides with
Festuca (Fescue)
Not sure which Festuca (Fescue) to pick?
Compare Now

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