UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Festuca idahoensis

fess-TOO-kah eye-duh-ho-EN-sis
Common Name
Idaho Fescue
Plant Type
Mature Size
1 ft. to 2 ft. tall and wide
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Flower Color
No flowers
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

Idaho fescue is common native grass in California and many other western states. We have planted a number of Festucas, including Idaho fescue, in full sun and they look brown and scraggly during the summer months. Festucas seem to perform much better in dry shade. In the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden we are in the process of removing Festucas from sunny areas of the garden and transplanting them to shadier spots when we have room.

Miscanthus, another type of grass, does better in full sun. It is not a perfect substitute for Festucas because of its larger size. The Palo Alto Demonstration Garden is still searching for a grass that is low growing and does well in full sun with limited water.

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