Rytidosperma species (formerly Austrodanthonia) are native grasses common in temperate grasslands of southern Australia. Nine Rytidosperma species, Lolium perenne and Bromus hordeaceus were grown as microswards in pots in a glasshouse, and their growth response to six levels of applied P was measured. Shoot yield differed up to twofold between the highest‐ and lowest‐yielding Rytidosperma species. Some Rytidosperma species were slow growing with minimal ability to respond to increased soil P availability. However, three species, Rytidosperma duttonianum, Rytidosperma racemosum and Rytidosperma richardsonii, had a similar shoot yield to L. perenne. Species that grew well at high P also grew well at low P, except B. hordeaceus, which was the lowest‐yielding species at low P, but had among the highest yields at high P. No species showed evidence of P toxicity. The species exhibited a range in critical external P requirement (i.e. amount of P applied for 90% maximum yield). Among the fast‐growing Rytidosperma species, R. richardsonii was notable because it had a low critical external P (16·3 mg P pot−1) and high agronomic P‐use efficiency (94·1 g DW g−1 P applied). In contrast, R. duttonianum had a higher critical external P requirement (22·4 mg P pot−1) and lower agronomic P‐use efficiency (85 g DW g−1 P applied). It was concluded that it is important to know which Rytidosperma species are present in a grassland to understand how it may respond to P fertilization. The results help to explain the diverse opinions expressed about the productivity of pastures containing Rytidosperma species.