Maiden GrassMiscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'
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Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'
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Maiden Grass is an eye-catching grass with narrow, upright and arching leaves that reaches 5 feet tall. It grows in dense clumps, never spreading sideways, and in summer tall flower spikes grow up to 8 feet tall, topped with silvery tassels fluttering in the breeze. This ornamental grass is hardy to at least zone 5, and grows in sheltered, well-drained gardens in zone 4 as well. Use it as a lawn specimen, behind smaller flowers and shrubs, or mass planted for screening or filling empty spaces. It grows well in coastal areas, and it is deer and rabbit proof too. Everywhere – from a cottage to a formal garden or a modern town garden – this grass is pleasing to the eye and easy to grow.
Maiden Grass grows in any well-drained soil, and thrives under ordinary garden conditions, in hot or cooler areas. Water regularly when newly-planted, but established plants are drought resistant. It thrives in sunny places, or in very light or partial shade, and the only care needed in a once-a-year cutting back to 3-6 inches tall, in spring. New growth will emerge and grow quickly once warmer weather arrives. Transplant only when in growth, in late spring and early summer.
Growing larger ornamental grasses is an effortless way to bring variety and interest to your shrub beds, and other parts of your garden. Their graceful, swaying habit and dramatic flower spikes give a unique look, like nothing else. Their increased popularity is also because they are so easy to take care of – no staking, spraying, elaborate pruning or other maintenance tasks are required. Many taller grasses can be invasive, so they become a problem over time. But other grasses are never invasive, and this is where Maiden Grass steps in.
Maiden Grass is a medium to tall grass, with the leaves reaching about 5 feet tall, and the plant in flower making an impressive 8-foot-tall clump. It grows into a mound of many narrow leaves, first thrusting up, and then arching over. Each leave is green, and between ¼ and ½ inch wide. The leaves can be up to 6 feet long, from ground to tip, but as they arch over the clump is usually 4 to 5 feet tall.
This fast-growing plant will soon thicken, with many leaves in a clump that is 3 to 5 feet across. This plant stays in a clump, and it does not spread sideways at all – so it never takes over where it isn’t wanted, and it doesn’t choke out surrounding plants – a truly ‘well-behaved’ grass. If you have a smaller garden, you may find the Adagio Maiden Grass more suitable, as it only grows about 3 feet tall, or 4 feet in flower, and about 3 feet wide.
In August, thicker stems carrying the flowers emerge from the clump, rising in time to 8 feet tall. These produce large plumes at the end, made up of many long tassels, that flutter in the breeze. They begin purplish in color, and change to silver, sparkling in the sunlight. A mature clump in flower in a scene of great beauty. In fall the leaves change color from green to golden shades, overcast with bronze, looking very dramatic.
Both the leaves and flowering plumes hold well in winter, even with snow, and these plants make striking winter features. Their beauty lasts for most of the year. Maiden Grass is hardy to at least zone 5, and also into zone 4. In colder zones full-flowering may not be seen, as flower spikes may not emerge until September. In those areas this grass is grown and enjoyed primarily for its graceful foliage.
Use Maiden Grass as a lawn specimen – dramatic surrounded by clipped turf. Use it among shrubs and larger perennials in borders. Mass plant for screens or accent, or to fill corners. It looks just as beautiful and appropriate in an ultra-modern city garden as it does in a wilder cottage garden. Create a prairie-style garden with a variety of ornamental grasses and perennial plants, using trees and larger shrubs for accents. Since this plant is salt resistant it looks great at a coastal cottage too.
Grow Maiden Grass in full sun, although it will tolerate some light shade. It will grow well in most soils, but it thrives in slightly moist but well-drained soil, with moderate fertility. To provide this, prepare the planting spot by digging some rich organic material into it, and mulch over the roots every year or two to maintain that fertility. Do not bury the clump under mulch – leave a few inches around it clear. Good drainage is important. Once established, plants are drought resistant, deer and rabbits usually leave them alone, and they have no significant pests or diseases either.
The only care needed is to cut back the clump to 3 to 6 inches tall in spring. Maiden Grass is a warm-climate grass, so it needs at least 2 weeks of warm weather to begin to spout again. In cooler areas this can be into the month of May. Do not move the plant around when it is dormant – wait until there is about one foot of new growth before disturbing the roots.
Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis) is native to Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea. It should not be confused with the similar, but usually much taller, Silver-grass (Miscanthus sacchariflorus) which is not recommended for most gardens, as it is invasive and difficult to eradicate. You don’t have to worry about this at all with the clump-forming Maiden Grass. Wild Maiden Grass grows 7 to 12 feet tall, and has broader, coarser leaves, ½ to ¾ of an inch wide.
The wild form of Maiden Grass is very vigorous, and instead of growing this form in gardens, the most popular is an older variety called ‘Gracillimus’. This is the selected form we are stocking, which is shorter, with more graceful, narrower leaves. This preferred variety cannot be grown from seed, and plants are produced by careful division of larger lumps in spring. Today, Maiden Grass is at the top of the list for all grass-loving gardeners, so we know that our stocks will not last long. Order now and enjoy this most dramatic and useful grass for gardens!
Maiden Grass is a versatile plant that can be paired with a variety of other plants for a visually appealing garden. Its tall, arching leaves and striking silver tassels make it a great backdrop for smaller, colorful flowers like daylilies, coneflowers, or black-eyed Susans. It can also be paired with other ornamental grasses of varying heights and colors for a textured, prairie-style garden. If you’re looking for a more dramatic contrast, consider pairing Maiden Grass with dark-leaved shrubs or trees.
Maiden Grass is propagated through division. In the spring, once the new growth has started, you can divide the clump into smaller sections using a sharp spade or knife. Each section should have a good amount of roots and shoots. These sections can then be planted in a well-prepared soil. Make sure to water them regularly until they are well established.
Maiden Grass is a hardy plant that is not commonly affected by pests or diseases. It is resistant to deer and rabbits, which makes it a great choice for gardens that are frequented by these animals. However, like any plant, it can occasionally be affected by common garden pests like aphids or fungal diseases. Regular inspection and good plant care practices can help keep your Maiden Grass healthy and vibrant.
Yes, Maiden Grass can be grown in containers. Its clump-forming habit and non-invasive nature make it a good choice for container gardening. Choose a large container to accommodate its size and ensure it has good drainage. Regular watering and feeding will help keep your Maiden Grass healthy and thriving in a container.
There are several benefits to growing Maiden Grass in your garden. Its resistance to drought, salt, deer, and rabbits makes it a hardy and low-maintenance choice. Its tall, arching leaves and silver tassels provide a striking visual element, adding height and movement to your garden. Additionally, its non-invasive nature means it won’t spread uncontrollably and crowd out other plants.
Maiden Grass is a versatile plant that can be used in various ways in landscape design. Its height and clump-forming habit make it a great choice for creating privacy screens or as a backdrop for smaller plants. It can also be used as a specimen plant in a lawn or garden bed, where its striking silver tassels can be fully appreciated. Its non-invasive nature also makes it a good choice for borders or mass plantings.
Maiden Grass is a hardy plant that can withstand winter conditions. It does not require any special care during the winter months. The leaves and flowering plumes hold well in winter, even with snow, and these plants make striking winter features. In the spring, you should cut back the clump to 3 to 6 inches tall to encourage new growth.
Maiden Grass is a plant that offers visual interest throughout the seasons. In the summer, it sports green leaves and purplish plumes that flutter in the breeze. As the season progresses, these plumes change to a striking silver color. In the fall, the leaves change from green to golden shades, overcast with bronze, looking very dramatic. Even in winter, Maiden Grass remains visually appealing, as the leaves and plumes hold well even with snow.
Maiden Grass is not particularly picky about soil, as long as it is well-drained. It can thrive under ordinary garden conditions, in hot or cooler areas. While it can tolerate a range of soil types, it prefers slightly moist but well-drained soil with moderate fertility. Adding some rich organic material to the planting spot and mulching over the roots every year or two can help maintain soil fertility.
When newly planted, Maiden Grass should be watered regularly to help it establish. However, once established, it is quite drought resistant and does not require frequent watering. During dry periods, it may benefit from occasional deep watering, but overwatering or poor drainage can lead to root problems. As with any plant, the watering needs can vary based on the local climate and soil conditions, so it’s always a good idea to monitor the plant’s health and adjust watering as needed.