- Type Ornamental grass
- Lifespan Perennial
- USDA Zones 4 to 10
- Light Sun or partial shade
- Water Average
- Foliage Tiny shaking seed heads
- Design Tip Meadow garden
- Companions Scabious, coreopsis
- Other Uses Dried flowers
Quaking Grass: A Field Guide
Quaking grasses earn their name because their tiny, pendulous flowers dry out in the sun and shiver charmingly in a breeze. With more than 20 species of Briza, you can find the right size and scale for nearly any garden in a temperate climate.
From B. maxima (greater quaking grass) to B. media (grown in 18-inch-high clumps and perennial in USDA zones 4 to 10), quaking grasses make an airy, ornamental backdrop to flowering perennials. Widely cultivated for use by florists and designers, their delicate seed heads add texture to floral arrangements.
In a garden quaking grass can fill holes in between seasons—and if you leave the seed heads in place after other perennial flowers die back, quaking grass will feed birds in early winter.
For more of our favorite ornamental grasses, see our growing and design guides for the meadow grass Blue Grama Grass, clumping Basket Grass to use as edging in a landscape, and hazy, pink Muhly Grass.