5 Ways to Pair Grasses and Agaves for a Winning Garden Combination

By Lauren Dunec Hoang, Houzz

As they say, opposites attract. A perfect planting companion to the architectural forms and sharp-tipped leaves of agaves may just be their polar opposite in terms of form and texture: feathery soft, billowing ornamental grasses. Take a look at five compelling ways to use a pairing of bold agaves with delicate ornamental grasses in the landscape. Tell us, do you think they make wonderful companions?

agave and grass
Studio H Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz

American century plant (Agave americana) paired with fine-textured ‘Elijah Blue’ fescue (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’), plus coral aloe (Aloe striata) and blue chalk sticks (Senecio mandraliscae)

Choosing Your Plants 

Think about what type of effect you’d like a pairing of agaves and grasses to have. Do you want the colors to contrast or blend in with each other? Pay attention to the mature sizes of both the agaves and grasses. A big difference in size will create a more dramatic, architectural look, while agaves paired with grasses of a similar size look more as if they’re planted in a meadow.

A few favorites pairs to consider:
• Large-scale, silvery-blue American century plant (Agave americana, USDA zones 8 to 11) and small, mounding blue fescue (Festuca glauca, zones 4 to 8)
• Medium-size octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana, zone 9) and feathery pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris, zones 6 to 9)
• Blue-green ‘Blue Flame’ agave (Agave ‘Blue Flame’, zones 9 to 11) and bronze New Zealand wind grass (Anemanthele lessoniana, zones 8 to 10)