Tag Archives: Calamagrostis ‘El Dorado’

Calamagrostis (Feather Reed Grass) ‘El Dorado’

Yes, more ornamental grass talk. Deal with it.

Today’s topic my fellow grassophiles is Feather Reed Grass ‘El Dorado’:

‘El Dorado’ is a sport of the most famous of feather reed grasses, ‘Karl Foerster’ and a grass that I have placed all over my landscape.
Some specifics before I proceed with my experiences with this OG:
  • 4-5 feet tall and about 2 feet wide
  • Survives zones 4-8
  • Works in full to partial sun
  • A gold variegated color 
  • A cool season grass – puts on most of its growth in the early spring before temps reach about 75 degrees.
  • Starts to bloom in early summer when blooms emerge pinkish and eventually mature to a wheat like color
  • Deer resistant like most ornamental grasses    

Let’s walk through the progression of this grass chronologically, shall we?
By the time I am ready to cut down all of the ornamental grasses in late winter, this one already shows signs of new growth. I like that: 

Within weeks, ‘El Dorado’ is starting to take shape:

An up close shot of the variegation:
By the middle of June, the blooms first emerge:  
Within a week’s time, the blooms begin to turn a pinkish color:  
And then to a much deeper pink shade:
And finally settles in at a nice tan/wheat/brown color:
As I mentioned previously, I have a bunch of these throughout my yard:

While I would never call them focal points or stand-outs, I do enjoy the vertical aspect they bring to the garden and they are reliable as hell, and that point cannot be forgotten. Especially in my nasty old poor draining, deer infested, wet clay.

They do tend to flop a bit more in partial shade as seen in the photo below:  

And are much more upright in full sun:

One final thing. While most websites indicate this grass gets to be between 4 and 5 feet tall, mine max out at about 2 and a half to 3 feet. We’ll see if that changes as they become more established.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this grass. Success? Failures? Somewhere in between?

John