Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats
Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats
Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats
Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats
Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats

Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats

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Full SunButterfly FriendlyDeer ResistantPart Shade
Northern Sea Oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Drooping seed heads hang in clusters from slightly arching stems topping an upright clump of bamboo-like foliage. Green leaves turn copper in fall and the seed heads emerge green but turn purplish bronze by late summer then dry to a straw color. The more water it receives, the more tolerant it will be of intense sun, but it still prefers shade. Clumping grasses like this provide nest sites and winter cover for quail, sparrows and other wildlife. They also provide fall and winter seeds for a number of birds including cardinals, towhees, juncos, sparrows and finches.


  • Larval host for: Pepper & salt skipper, Bells roadside skipper and Bronzed roadside skipper
  • Provides nesting sites, protective cover and food for birds
  • Use foliage and flower in fresh or dried arrangements
  • Seeds eaten by small mammals and granivorous birds
  • Seed stalks are decorative in dried arrangements
  • Good winter interest, very hardy
  • Deer resistant

Native Range

Woods, thickets and bottomland; New Jersey to Illinois to Kansas south to Texas and Florida.

Map Credit: The Biota of North America 
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)


Northern sea oats is one of the few native grasses that grows well in shade. You can plant it in the border, shade garden, naturalized areas, along streams or on the edge of a water garden. It also grows well in large containers.



Easy to grow in full sun to part shade. Tolerates shade. Plant in dry to moist, well-drained soil. Surprisingly drought tolerant. Will self-seed. Leave foliage in place over winter for winter interest and to provide homes for over-wintering critters. This also helps protect crowns from the cold. Cut back to the ground in early spring before new growth begins.


Mature Size: 30-30in. Tall x 20-30in. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 5-8

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade

Coming Soon!

    American Beauties Offer Solution Based Plant Collections to Help you Choose

    Quick Tips for Choosing Plants:

    • Planting a variety of native trees, shrubs, perennials and vines increases biodiversity and gives wildlife a source for food, cover and nesting
    • Choose a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees so birds and other wildlife will always be able to find shelter
    • Plant trees and large shrubs where they will block winter winds from the house and shade it in summer, that will save energy and lower your carbon footprint
    • Try your best to buy plants that were grown locally, your independent garden center will be your best bet
    • Think about ultimate height and width of the plant you choose, make sure it will fit the space you have for it when it's reached maturity
    • Plant nectar plants in groups, to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects more easily
    • Ask for help if you need it. Most garden centers either have a landscape designer on staff or they can give you a reference of a designer that is adept at native plant wildlife gardening. There will be upfront costs but they are small when compared to having to redo a landscape that wasn't what you really wanted

    Our Plant Tags Hold the Secrets to Success

    Choosing the right plants for your garden can seem like a daunting task but we’re here to help. Our horticulturists have spent a considerable amount of time researching and writing our beautiful, American Beauties plant tags to help you be successful. First of all, when you see an American Beauties branded pot at your garden center you can be confident that the plant is native to your area and a responsible choice. 

    When you look at our tag you’ll find information about the plants natural habitat. That will give you a clue to how it will work in your backyard. For instance if the plant is naturally founded and moist, shade and you have full sun, it’s not the plant for you. The “Features” section gives you an overview or plant description so you’ll know what to expect. While the “Benefits” section talks about the plants strong suits and how the plant will benefit wildlife. 

    A Special Note About Exposure

    Full sun: Prefers six or more hours of direct sunshine a day
    Partial shade: Thrives in three to six hours of daily sunshine
    Shade: Generally does well with less than three hours of sun per day. Having said that even shade loving plants will struggle in extremely deep shade.


    Best Plants for Bees - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Butterflies - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Birds - Double sided printout for download