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I would like to decorate our living room with a strip of grass. Which type should I grow? The requirements are as following:

  • should be a perennial or at least grow for a year or so
  • slow growing, consequently pruning required only occasionally (once a month or less)
  • grows well indoors with no direct sunlight (although bright room with lots of windows)
  • little attention required
  • straight, green leaves
  • BONUS: health benefits when consumed (I assume this could contradict with the first requirement, since you usually plant new seeds for each portion?)

Wheatgrass is tempting, but it grows too fast.

Wheatgrass

  • 1
    This is very interesting! Very few grasses for eating are shade-loving. How big will this area be? Are you up for purchasing special lights? Will the area be installed IN your floor or is this a pot-type planting? Have you seen this application anywhere? I love grasses and have had a few in the home and none have made it...and that is rare for any plants in my care. Could you add a bit more information? – stormy Sep 1 '14 at 0:05
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    Not sure you can use many real grasses in this situation, but I'll give you a list of substitutes. – J. Musser Sep 1 '14 at 4:02
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Firstly, most grasses won’t do well indoors, so you’ll probably have to go along with a look-alike. Secondly, I don’t have edibility info on the plants I will recommend. Do not ingest any parts of those plants until you have it from a reliable source that the part is edible.

The plants listed below should last indefinitely with proper care, rarely need trimming, and do not require full sun. They may require weekly attention, depending on how often you find you must water. They all have straight, green leaves, which usually arch some as they mature. Many of these plants are more commonly seen in their variegated forms. All of them should make a nice, green strip of wavy ‘grass’ in your living room, given good care.

My top 5 recommendations:

  • Carex morrowii, or Japanese sedge grass, can be unvariegated.

    Not an actual grass. Easy to grow and contrasts well with broad-leaved foliage plants.

    Photo of Japanese sedge grass, unvariegated, outdoors

    • light: bright filtered light
    • temperature: 65-70° Fahrenheit, 50-60° in winter, if possible
    • humidity: high, especially during warm spells
    • watering: thorough, allowing top 1" of mixture to dry completely in between
    • feeding: standard liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks, only during spring and summer
  • Chlorophytum cosmosum, or Spider Plant, can be unvariegated

    Can be hard to come by. Very, very easy to grow. Good beginners plant.

    Photo of Spider Plant, indoors

    • light: bright filtered light. Avoid direct summer sun.
    • temperature: normal room temperatures
    • humidity: not too picky, but higher humidity is beneficial
    • watering: in spring and summer, keep thoroughly moist. In winter, allow top 1/2" to dry
    • feeding: standard balanced fertilizer, every two weeks while actively growing
  • Liriope muscari, or lily-turf

    Usually seen as a groundcover/border plant in outdoor beds; recently becoming a popular houseplant. Usually easy-care plant.

    Photo of lilly-turf, on patio

    • light: will flower if given bright light. Tolerant of a fair amount of shade.
    • temperature: tolerates fluctuations well, but needs 50-55°F during winter
    • humidity: higher is beneficial, but tolerant of low humidity for periods of time
    • watering: In summer, allow top 1/2" to dry between waterings; keep from drying completely in winter
    • feeding: standard balanced fertilizer, every two weeks while actively growing
  • Ophiopogon jaburan, another lily-turf

    Uncommon. I’ve had success with this, in large shallow pots, but that may not be necessary.

    Photo of this lilly-turf, indoors

    • light: will flower if given bright light. Tolerant of a fair amount of shade.
    • temperature: tolerates up to 75°F in high humidity; likes 60-68°F if possible
    • humidity: likes a high humidity, stand on a tray of pebbles
    • watering: In summer, allow top 1/2" to dry between waterings; keep from drying completely in winter
    • feeding: standard balanced fertilizer, every two weeks while actively growing
  • Stenotaphrum secundatum, or Buffalo Grass

    Not a common indoor plant, but rather easy. May need occasional trimming.

    Photo of Buffalo Grass

    • light: as bright as possible
    • temperature: no lower than 55°F
    • humidity: likes a high humidity: stand on a tray of pebbles
    • watering: in summer, keep thoroughly moist; in winter rest, keep from drying completely
    • feeding: do not overfeed; standard balanced fertilizer once every 4-5 weeks while actively growing
  • Even the spider plant is likely to need additional lighting. If the intention is to put the plants on the floor at ground level then supplementary lighting is almost mandatory. – kevinsky Sep 1 '14 at 15:03
  • @kevinsky I've seen spider plants take much lower light levels than a 'bright room with lots of windows'. The plants recommended do not need direct sun, but love a bright room with lots of windows. – J. Musser Sep 1 '14 at 22:47
  • Guess I've just seen too many people overestimate how much light plants are getting. – kevinsky Sep 2 '14 at 1:27

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