Jill is a former Master Gardener and Naturalist who enjoys cooking, abstract painting and stewardship.
"Grass is the hair of the earth." --late German horticulturalist Karl Foerster
Pretty Little Cottontails
Bunny tails (Lagurus ovatus) is an ornamental grass that’s fun and easy to cultivate. Sometimes called hare’s tail grass, bunny tails grows in compact mounds about a foot wide, which makes it an excellent border plant.
Try planting bunny tails along a walkway. Its fluffy white cottontails, which first appear in early summer, will tickle your legs as you pass. At 1 to 2 feet high, bunny tails is just tall enough to tickle a toddler’s nose, too.
Bunny tail blooms look like the real thing thanks to their soft, downy appearance and life-like size. (Blooms are 2 to 2 ½ inches wide!)
In autumn, the fluffy white tails turn light brown. Harvest them for dry arrangements. The seed heads, which are compact and dense, last for months. Or, leave the heads intact to add interest to your winter garden.
You can also grow bunny tails in pots, either alone or as an accent (thriller) plant.
How to Sow Bunny Tails Ornamental Grass
Directly sow bunny tails outdoors in full sun 3 weeks before the last frost in sandy or well-drained soil. (It doesn’t do well in soggy soil.)
Because the seeds are small, plant them shallowly, scratching them into the soil about 1/4-inch deep. Keep them well watered. Thin seedlings to 12 inches apart.
Like most ornamental grasses, once Lagurus ovatus is established, it’s drought-tolerant.
You can also start bunny tails indoors from seed 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Keep the potting medium warm and moist. Seeds will germinate in 15 to 21 days.
In mild climates, zones 7-10, bunny tails can be cultivated as a perennial. In zones 3-6, treat it as an annual.
Red Bunny Tails Fountain Grass
Although Pennisetum messiacum (red bunny tails fountain grass) shares the name “bunny tails” with Lagurus ovatus, its blooms resemble a rabbit’s foot or fox's tail more than a bunny's tail. In fact, its blooms are of a type commonly referred to as foxtails.
Like bunny tails, Pennisetum messiacumprefers full sun. However, it does well in part shade, too, and it's drought tolerant. In zones 7-10, it grows as a perennial. In any zone where temperatures drop below zero, it's an annual.
Beautiful as a specimen plant, excellent in a large pot, Pennisetum messiacum can grow up to 3 feet tall. Its gorgeous burgundy foxtails eventually fade to white.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Jill Spencer
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on July 10, 2015:
It's cute in person, too, bluebird. Thanks for stopping by.
bluebird on July 10, 2015:
Plants can be beautiful, but don't recall so much any cute plants! Thanks for sharing, I wouldn't mind growing this myself, it has such a cute name.
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on January 05, 2013:
Hi moonlake. Yep, bunny tail grass likes it warm, zones 7 and up. Below that, it's an annual, but a really fun annual! Thanks for leaving a comment.--Jill
moonlake from America on January 04, 2013:
I love grass but I have never heard of bunny tails. They would be only annuals here I'm sure. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.
Claudia Smaletz from East Coast on January 01, 2013:
Ah, you have made me enchanted with the Bunny tail Grass. I love ornamental grasses and enjoyed your article. The first photo of the Bunny tail grass was quite beautiful. I loved your quote at the beginning of the article and I love latin, so I really am glad you included the latin names for these beautiful and practical workhorses of the garden.
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 22, 2011:
Thanks, Eiddwen. I appreciate the comment. Thanks for reading!
Eiddwen from Wales on April 22, 2011:
A great hub about something I knew little about,and thankfully we are never too old to learn.
I now look forward to reading more of your work.
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 18, 2011:
Thanks for stopping by, RTalloni!
RTalloni on April 17, 2011:
Oh how adorable! My grandchildren would love this grass. Thanks!
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 17, 2011:
According to this site, http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-iowa-last-fro... your last frost date was from mid to late April, depending upon where you live in Iowa, so ... if that's accurate, you could sow them now. You shouldn't have any difficulty getting them to start. They're easy to grow and really cute.
awhughes on April 17, 2011:
I have never heard of bunny tails. Thanks for the info! I live in Iowa, is this a good time of the year to plant seeds?