Gold Bar Maiden GrassMiscanthus sinensis 'Gold Bar' (PP# 15,193)
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Miscanthus sinensis 'Gold Bar' (PP# 15,193)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Gold Bar Maiden Grass is a bold and unique ornamental grass, with leaves that are banded horizontally with many creamy-yellow stripes. It is similar, but more compact, to porcupine grass. The sturdy vertical leaves stand just 4 feet tall, and the flower spikes add about another foot. It is only 2 feet wide, making it an ideal choice for smaller gardens, confined spaces and for growing in planter boxes and pots. The many horizontal gold bands make it bright and striking, a perfect accent in any bed, by water or among boulders. It needs almost no attention and remains attractive through winter as well.
Plant your Gold Bar Maiden Grass in full sun, or with just a couple of hours of shade each day. It grows perfectly in all well-drained soils, including sandy areas, and once well-established it is drought tolerant. Deer and rabbits won’t eat it, and it doesn’t suffer from pests or diseases. It is also resistant to salt spray – perfect for the coast. An annual trim to 4 inches tall anytime between late fall and early spring is all the care it needs – no kidding.
One of the most beautiful and unique of all the ornamental grasses is porcupine grass. A type of maiden grass, it has something very rare among plants – leaves that are banded yellow and green horizontally, not vertically. Many grasses have white edges, but these extraordinary horizontal bands give this one a unique look. The problem is, it is a large grass, growing rapidly to 6 feet tall, and making broad clumps that need a lot of room. Space is often something our gardens don’t have, and that is why we think the Gold Bar Maiden Grass is so special. It is a small, slower-growing form of porcupine grass, and even more boldly striped, making it incredibly vibrant and showy. It takes 2 or 3 years longer to mature, which means it can be grown for several seasons in planters and pots as a striking center-piece. Out in the garden it only matures at 2 feet wide, and not much more than 4 feet tall, so it’s a winner for every smaller garden – which so many of us have today. All this makes the Gold Bar Maiden Grass literally worth its weight in gold for any gardener who loves the unique and beautiful, but who doesn’t have a lot of room. Luckily our price is much more reasonable!
The Gold Bar Maiden Grass is a perennial ornamental grass that is completely non-invasive. It forms a dense clump that after a few years will have leaves rising in a vertical clump to 3 or 4 feet in the air. Because the leaves rise almost vertically, and they are very densely arranged, a mature clump is only 2 feet across. Each leaf is just ¼ of an inch wide, tapering very slowly to a point. Starting low down, and continuing almost the whole length of the leaf, there are broad bands of creamy-yellow, ¼ to ½ inch thick, alternating with green areas of the leaf. These bands of yellow give a bright and striking look to this plant.
When grown in warmer areas the Gold Bar Maiden Grass will flower late in the season, often in October. 2 or 3 thicker spikes grow up to about 5 feet, carrying on their upper part a cluster of many grass flowers like a plume, 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. When young the flowers are rich burgundy-red, maturing to attractive sandy beiges. The flower spikes persist all through fall and winter. In late fall the grass turns from green to light beige, also persisting upright through the winter unless pushed down by heavy snow.
This striking grass is a perfect accent in any bed, either of perennials, small shrubs, or a mixture of both. It looks great beside water, and just as good among boulders and gravel. Place it as an eye-catching accent at the corners of beds, at the foot of stairs, or beside a gate. It can be grown as a single plant, or planted in groups of 3 or 5, spacing them 18 to 24 inches apart. It’s tolerant of salt and some dryness, so use it at your beach cottage. With its smaller size it is perfect for pots and planters, which can be left outdoors through winter from zone 6 or 7.
The Gold Bar Maiden Grass grows best in zones 5 to 8, but it will grow in warmer parts of zone 4, in well-drained soil that is free of winter ice. It will also grow in zone 9 in the northwest, where summers are not so hot. In planters it will overwinter easily in zones 7, 8 and 9. In cooler zones you can lift it from the pot and plant it in the ground in late fall, repotting again in spring. Notice that flowers are often not produced in cooler zones, but the foliage value is just as great.
Grow all maiden grasses in full sun for the best colors and look. They will also tolerate an hour or two of shade each day, but not much more. Almost any well-drained soil is suitable, including sandy soils, although there you may need to water more often during summer. It is generally tolerant of drought, unless it is severe, and it tolerates salt-spray as well.
When it comes to caring for the Gold Bar Maiden Grass, there is almost nothing to do. It doesn’t suffer from pests or diseases, and deer leave it completely alone. This is a ‘warm season’ grass, so you won’t see growth until the soil warms in late spring – don’t worry, it isn’t dead! Once it begins to grow, it grows rapidly, soon forming a full clump again. The only care needed is to cut it down while it is dormant – anytime between late fall and early spring is suitable. Don’t try to move it around in fall, do that in spring if you need to, once you see the first new leaves pushing out.
Maiden grass, Miscanthus sinensis, is often called Chinese or Japanese silver grass, and it does grow naturally in those countries, as well as in Taiwan and Korea. A very tall grass, the leaves can be 10 feet tall. The wild plant spreads by seed, and has become invasive in some states, but don’t worry, garden forms usually don’t make seeds, so they can’t spread. We don’t know for sure, but the variety called ‘Strictus’, that we know as Porcupine Grass, probably originated in Japan, but it has been grown in America since 1976. Michael Smith and Maurice Horn own Joy Creek Nursery, in Scappoose, Oregon. There, around 1997, they grew some seeds from the Porcupine Grass and noticed one unique seedling. After growing it for 7 years they realized it was a perfect small version, with bolder banding, and slower, more compact growth. They were granted a patent in 2004, and named their new plant ‘Gold Bar’.
If you have admired Porcupine Grass for its unique look, but realized it was too big for your garden, the ‘Gold Bar’ Porcupine Grass is your answer. Wherever you need or want a smaller version, and one that is also more brightly colored, this is your plant. It is always wildly popular, so order now, while our stock is still available.