The Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ (Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass) Full Care Guide


The Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass, otherwise known as the Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ or Feather Reed Grass ‘Karl Foerster’, Calamagrostis ‘Stricta’, is a rather well known ornamental grass plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this ornamental grass will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green-colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass are the following:

  • Water: The Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.
  • Light: Keep your Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass belongs to the Poaceae family, and the genus Calamagrostis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ (kal-a-ma-GROS-tis ah-KYOO-tih-flor-ah).

As with other Calamagrostis’s, the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

This species is native to Asia and Europe.

You might be wondering why your Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, what size of Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

The Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ can grow up to 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm) in 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm). 

These dimensions make the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass a relatively medium ornamental grass compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 18″ – 24″ (45cm – 60cm) free so the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass can spread to its best extent.

Watering

In terms of watering, the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass in soil with moist but well-draining to well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

The Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass’s ideal soil potting mix is made out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass requires soil with clay, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions

Most experts agree that this ornamental grass will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being a herbaceous plant, the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass will die back to the ground every year. But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.

Flowers

You can expect your Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass to flower around the spring, summer, fall and in the winter months from April to June (spring), from July to September (summer), from October to December (fall) and from January to March (winter).

The Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass produces some beautiful red, pink, cream/tangold/yellow, and purple/lavender flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for wet soil, drought and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ will be fine.

Garden

How should you then organize your garden to include your new Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Calamagrostis X Acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ owners agree that this ornamental grass will look great in most mediterranean and rustic gardens of all types. Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of modern garden, city and courtyard, informal and cottage, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, banks and slopes, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a rock garden, mass planting, cutting garden, border, erosion control, green roof, or a urban garden.

Companion Plants

Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Spiraea, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Potentilla will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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