Cosmopolitan Maiden GrassMiscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan'
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Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Of all the ornamental grasses, the Cosmopolitan Maiden Grass is one of the most beautiful and desirable. The inch-wide leaves arch up and over, creating a cascade of white and cream on a column of stems that grow over 5 feet tall, making a broad clump 4 to 5 feet wide. In late summer flower stems with silver-pink tassels rise to 8 feet, making a wonderful visual accent in your garden. This grass is not invasive, and it billows and ripples in the breezes, creating wonderful rustling sounds. Grow it as specimen in a bed or lawn, behind flowers or shrubs, or in a row as a summer screen.
Grow the Cosmopolitan Maiden Grass in full sun, or a little partial shade, in any well-drained soil. It prefers moist and rich soils, but it is drought-tolerant once established. Hardy to zone 5, and resistant to salt spray. Pest, disease and deer-proof, and very easy to grow. Cut down to 6 inches in late fall or late winter.
Ornamental Grasses have been popular for some time now, and we have left behind the days when ‘grass’ meant ‘lawn’ or ‘invasive nuisance’. The top grasses today are all clump-forming, so they stay where you put them, just growing fuller and more spectacular with each passing year. When it comes to looking spectacular, and making powerful garden statements, nothing can beat the Maiden Grasses, whose wonderful form and structure provide the architecture that many home gardens are missing. Some have slender leaves, but one group have slightly broader ones, and the Cosmopolitan Maiden Grass is certainly one of our favorites in that group, and a favorite of many of the famous professional gardeners as well. A fountain of light and airiness, it’s pale foliage is topped in late summer with a crown of glistening silver-pink fluffy flower spikes. Then there is that captivating rustle in the slightest breeze that makes grasses such wonderful garden companions, and the swaying, billowing forms it takes when the wind blows. A garden without grasses really is missing something vital, so add this one to your collection, or make it your first ornamental grass – we guarantee you will be back for more.
The Cosmopolitan Maiden Grass is a perennial grass that forms, in a single season once it is established, a tall column of swaying stems, with arching leaves, reaching 4 to 5 feet tall and wide, and up to 8 feet when flowering. It is self-supporting, and stand up to strong winds and rain without any trouble. The many stems grow in a dense clump, and the slender leaves arch out and hang down, creating a unique and wonderful garden form. Each leaf is up to one-inch wide, and bright green, with a slender pale-green vein down the center and a broad creamy-white stripe down each edge. The variegated foliage makes this plant bright and sparkling, and very different looking from most other maiden grasses, which normally have very thin, wiry leaves. It sprouts in spring, growing up from a perennial base, and soon reaches its maximum height.
In the second-half of summer, and even in fall in cooler zones, this beautiful grass will flower – yes, grasses do produce flowers. Many pale-beige stems spout up from the clump, rising about 2 feet above the leaves. Each stem is topped with a cluster of many slender, arching fuzzy threads (the flowers), creating a very decorative tassel. These threads are silver-pink when young, gradually becoming beige as they mature and winter sets in. Even after the grass leaves die, the winter effect of this plant is striking and beautiful, and many gardeners don’t cut it down until spring, to enjoy the charm of its winter beauty.
This grass is a striking specimen, to use alone or in groups of several clumps, for beds or for growing on lawns. It can be grown among perennial flowers or among shrubs – it looks great in both settings. It is effective in traditional flower gardens, in natural gardens, at beach cottages, and also in striking modern minimalist gardens – it’s an incredibly versatile garden plant. It can also be planted in a row, spaced 3 or 4 feet apart, for a gorgeous summer screen, and even grown in a large tub for a patio or terrace.
The Cosmopolitan Maiden Grass is hardy throughout all the warm and hot zones, from zone 5 to zone 9. In cooler zones, or in areas with cool, damp summers, flowering will be delayed to late summer and often into the fall.
Grow the Cosmopolitan Maiden Grass in full sun for the best growth and the earliest blooming, but it can also be grown with a couple of hours of shade each day. It grows well in any well-drained soil, and although drought resistant it benefits from regular watering and richer soil, for the lushest and tallest growth. It is also tolerant of salt spray.
Pests and diseases normally don’t bother this tough and reliable plant. Deer leave it alone too, which is great. Allow your new plant 2 to 4 years to become established and develop to its full size. This is a warm-season grass, which means that growth is slow in spring. Many gardeners plant bulbs like daffodils or tulips around it, to occupy that blank space. Cut it back to 6 to 9 inches above the ground either in late fall or in early spring. That is all the care needed, and this non-invasive grass doesn’t need any staking or other support. If you live in areas where the wild forms of this grass are invasive, cut down in fall, before the seeds ripen and spread.
Maiden grass, Miscanthus sinensis, is known by several names, including Chinese silver grass, Eulalia grass, and porcupine grass. It grows naturally in China, Japan and Korea. It usually has thin leaves, less than ½ inch wide, but the natural variety called condensatus has wider leaves and thicker stems. A plant with white-edged leaves was found in Japan in the 1940s by the botanist Toyoichi Aoki, and Dr. Masato Yokoi, a specialist in variegated plants, gave it to the U.S. National Arboretum in the mid-1970’s. It was named ‘Cosmopolitan’ by Kurt Bluemel, an American plantsman and landscape architect.
This wonderful and unique grass was given the Award of Garden Merit in 2001 by the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society of England – a true stamp of approval. This is a well-established and reliable variety, sure to please, and to bring wonder to your garden. Order now, because there is always a big demand for these special grasses, and they sell out fast.