Festuca gautieri

Spiky Fescue or Bearskin Fescue

Festuca gautieri

Festuca Gautieri has fine, bright green blades and grows to about 20 x 20 cm. A stretch of this grass has a tranquil, mossy appearance and tones down colourful feature plants. It is also lovely near water features.

Just as our appreciation of a painting is enhanced when it is framed, so a focal plant is shown to best advantage if it is surrounded by a frame of some sort. One of the most attractive ways to frame a plant is to use ornamental grasses, and you don’t have to restrict yourself to the colour green. There are enough colours and textures in the selection of ornamental grasses and grass-like plants to satisfy everyone.

Festuca Gautieri originated in the cold of northern Europe, making it suitable for our colder regions, where it looks best in winter. These grasses form dense tussocks of soft leaves and take on the appearance of blue-grey or bright green grass pillows. Festucas work especially well when planted as a soft ground cover around dramatic accent plants such as Cordylines, Palms and Cycads, amongst brightly flowering dwarf Aloe hybrids and in dense patches in the foreground of a mixed border.

What they Need

Location: full sun or light shade, planted about 40 cm apart.
Soil: any soil type, enriched with compost.
Water: medium water.
Maintenance: dead blades of grass in the tussocks can make them look untidy so ‘comb’ the tussocks with a child’s toy rake, a wide-toothed hairbrush or even your fingertips to remove them. Festuca grasses can be pruned heavily if they start to look unattractive – they will grow back quite quickly so don’t prune lightly.

Festuca Gautieri – In a Nutshell

* Cold resistant, with the winter weather enhancing its colour.
* Medium water consumption.
* Problem-free ground cover.

The Gardener