Pink Flamingos Muhly GrassMuhlenbergia capillaris x lindheimeri Pink Flamingo
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Muhlenbergia capillaris x lindheimeri Pink Flamingo
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Pink Flamingo Muhly Grass is a tall perennial grass that tops 5 feet when in bloom. It forms a clump of slender gray-green leaves, and then in late summer flower plumes grow up, carrying masses of feathery pink grass flowers. It is in bloom for many weeks, making a magical highlight of the gardening year. Very drought resistant, it is ideal for xeric and water-wise gardens, and it also thrives at the shore. Grow it in shrub beds, with perennial flowers, or alone in drifts along a pathway or on banks and slopes.
Plant Pink Flamingo Muhly Grass in full sun or with just a couple of hours of shade each day. It grows best, and overwinters best, in drier soils, so avoid heavy, wet areas and plant on higher ground and slopes, especially in cooler zones. It is deer, pest and disease free normally, but hates damp, especially in winter. Cut back the clumps to 4 inches tall in late fall in cooler zones or in late winter in warmer areas.
Of all the ornamental grasses – and there are many – the different muhly grasses stand out for their beauty. The glowing pink haze that envelopes them through late summer and fall is certainly the most colorful of any grass, and their drought resistance is a big plus in this time of increased awareness of water issues. Although they are all very similar, there are important differences that can mean the difference between success or failure, particularly through the winter. Some only persist in the warmest areas, so if you garden in cooler zones it pays to be careful in choosing. If you do live in cooler zones then Pink Flamingo Muhly Grass is going to be your top choice, because it is hardy even in zone 6.
If you like your grasses a little bigger, wherever you are, then again it will be top of the list, as the tallest of them, standing over 5 feet tall when in bloom. A striking feature that rivals the maiden grasses, and is certainly much more colorful. The cloud of thousands of tiny pink grass flowers hovering over it, especially when planted in drifts, is guaranteed to bring joy to your heart and pleasure to your eyes – all for almost no effort at all. Derived from native grasses, everything about this great grass fits today’s gardens.
Pink Flamingo Muhly Grass is a large clump-forming perennial grass that is not invasive, staying in tight clumps and never spreading outwards. This warm-season grass is slow to start in spring, leaving space around it for spring bulbs of your choosing, but once the ground has warmed it takes off, soon forming an arching clump of slender leaves 3 to 4 feet tall. Soft gray-green, the slim leaves are rolled in on themselves, a sign of the ability of this grass to tolerate drought. The rise up and arch over like a fountain, and if this was it we would be happy to grow this grass. But it isn’t.
By late summer, and for weeks into the fall flowering stems rise up from the clump, reaching to 5½ feet, making a bold and striking statement in your garden. The upper sections of each stem carry clusters of fluffy grass flowers which stand 1 or 2 feet above the leaves. With an airy look they flutter in the slightest breeze, and their wonderful pink coloring must be seen to be believed. Soft yet potent, pink toned with purples and dusky roses, this cloud of color hovers over your beds for weeks and weeks. Unique and real eye-candy, it will be one of the highlights of late summer in your garden.
The height of this grass suggests using it in the middle part of your beds, behind shorter plants – ones with large, bold leaves would make a great contrast. Grow it on banks and slopes, or among rocks and boulders. It is a true xeric plant, happy in the driest places, so fill those dull, dry areas with beauty and color instead. Use it on the sunny side of trees and large bushes, or mix it with flowering perennials for a glorious look – blues and silvers work well, such as catmint, which also loves those dry places. Groups and drifts create the best look – go for 3, 5 or more, spacing them about 2 feet apart. In zones 8, 9 and 10 it could also be grown in planter boxes, left out all winter.
Pink Flamingo Muhly Grass is significantly more hardy than others, such as Coastal Muhly Grass, and it will survive winters well in zone 6. It will of course grow perfectly in all warmer zones. Even in cooler areas it is fast growing, so why not treat yourself, grow it as an annual grass, and plant some more next year?
Although an hour or two of afternoon shade will do no harm, Pink Flamingo Muhly Grass prefers full sun, where it is also less likely to be troubled by its only enemy – damp. Grow it in well-drained soils, and it is perfectly happy in poor, sandy soil, especially in cooler zones. It is wet in winter, rather than low temperatures, that could mean it doesn’t see the next spring. Planting on slopes and banks is a good way to make sure it has enough drainage. After a little help getting established it is highly drought-resistant, and also tolerates salt-spray.
Untroubled by deer, pests or diseases, Pink Flamingo Muhly Grass is as easy to grow as it is beautiful. Don’t assume in spring it has died – wait until the soil warms, when it will begin to sprout. Don’t overcrowd it, because good air-circulation is important for protection against moisture. In late fall or late winter cut the clumps back to about 4 inches tall – not less as this could damage growing points inside the clump. That’s it – no other care is needed.
Pink Flamingo Muhly Grass is a natural hybrid grass, discovered some years ago at The John Fairey Garden, in Hempstead, Texas. Once called Peckerwood Garden, this unique garden, created by design professor and plant explorer John Fairey, brings together drought-tolerant plants from both America and around the world. Pink Flamingo combines the height and upright flower stems of Muhlenbergia lindheimeri, native to Mexico and Texas, with the plumy, pink flowers of Muhlenbergia capillaris, found across much of the south-east and into Kansas. Their chance meeting under the eye of John Fairey created something very special.
If you like your grasses tall, or you need them more cold-resistant, then Pink Flamingo Muhly Grass is going to be your best choice. The unique pink cloud will brighten your garden week after week, and you won’t even need to turn on the hose. Grasses are always hugely popular, and our supplies run out almost as fast as they arrive. So don’t hesitate, place your order now – we won’t have these flamingos on the farm much longer.