Pink Muhly GrassMuhlenberia capillaris
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Pink Muhly Grass is a wonderful airy grass that produces clouds of purplish-pink flowers in late summer and all through fall. Forming an upright clump of thin, green wiry leaves at first, it then sends up a foot-tall cloud of pink that hovers over it and makes a spectacular garden show. Even in winter the flowers, which turn tan and beige, look dramatic and lovely. Grow this perennial plant in the foreground of larger beds, plant it among shrubs and evergreens in rocky and sandy areas or grow it in planters and pots. For wonderful late-summer and fall color, combined with a unique cloud-like form, this native plant can’t be beaten.
Pink Muhly Grass should be planted in full sun, and it tolerates some partial shade too. Grow it in well-drained soils, especially in colder zones, and it thrives in almost all gardens without any problems. Pests, diseases, rabbits and deer all leave it alone, and a quick cutting-back in late winter or spring is all it needs – just once a year.
At the Tree Center our main focus is on trees and shrubs. These woody plants are the backbone of a garden, and it is perfectly possible to create wonderful landscapes entirely with them, they are so varied. That doesn’t mean we aren’t aware of the extra dimension perennial flowering plants that die down each year can add to your garden. These plants have textures that can’t be found in shrubs, and this is especially true of ornamental grasses. The soft, fine texture they bring is unique, and perfect for bordering beds and extending the textural range of a planting. They are usually easy to grow, needing just an annual trim, and they come back reliably, so you get all this extra beauty without extra work. A definite top choice among them is the Pink Muhly Grass, whose bold pink coloring rivals any flowers, and whose soft, airy texture is perfect almost anywhere around the garden.
Pink Muhly Grass grows as an upright clump of slender leaves, topped in late summer and fall by a cloud of hazy pink flowering stems, that makes a fabulous foreground plant in shrub beds. Its soft look is very eye-catching and appealing, and it glows across the garden, drifting and waving in the slightest breeze. Although light and airy, its color density anchors the beds and gives them a perfect finish. It is also effective by water, where its color will reflect off the surface. In a dry, xeric planting, among rocks and gravel, it will look equally effective, and it’s also a terrific plant for planter boxes and container gardening, making attractive combinations with other smaller plants.
Pink Muhly Grass grows first into a clump of slender grassy stems, 18 or 24 inches tall. The many dark-green to blue-green wiry leaf blades are slender and rolled, no more than ⅛ to ¼ of an inch wide at the base. These many leaves arch upwards and curve over at their almost thread-like tips. In late summer and early fall the flowering stems rise above the leafy clump, reaching about 3 feet by the time they have matured. The flowering stem is open and airy, forming a large cloud of thread-like branches that carry hundreds of tiny, pinkish to purple-pink flowers. These last for weeks, and the display is long and stunningly beautiful. As the pink fades the flowering stems become attractive tones of tan and soft beige, looking lovely all through winter.
Because Pink Muhly Grass blooms late, it is perfect for combining with spring and summer flowering plants, as it will keep the color coming when they have finished blooming. Equally, plant it with late blooming shrubs like Panicle Hydrangeas, for a ‘knock your socks off’ power-play combination of colors. While its color is powerful and dynamic, it combines with just about any other garden color going, so use it freely around the garden, and wherever you have spaces to fill. If you have grown grasses before you may be afraid this plant is invasive. Don’t be – it forms tight, dense clumps, but doesn’t spread outwards at all. It is very effective as a single clump in smaller spaces or planted in larger groups and drifts for an amazing impact. For group planting scatter plants over the chosen area, spacing them 18 to 24 inches apart.
Pink Muhly Grass is what is called a ‘warm-season’ grass. This means that it doesn’t come into growth until the weather warms, so especially in colder zones it may look ‘dead’ for a while in spring, and it can be a month or two before new growth emerges. Depending on when you buy it, you may receive what looks to be a clump of dead leaves – don’t worry, just wait. In spring, don’t make the mistake of thinking it has died over winter. All it needs is a little patience, and the arrival of hotter weather. A good tactic is to plant clumps of spring-flowering bulbs around and among it, to add early interest to that spot – the grass will then fill in the space perfectly as the bulb foliage dies down.
Pink Muhly Grass may be beautiful and exotic, but it is easy to grow. It enjoys full sun best, but it will cope easily with a few hours of shade each day too. It grows in just about any kind of soil, preferring sandy, rocky soils and good drainage, while also enjoying some water during the dry parts of summer. It is hardy from zone 5, but in that zone it is best planted in full sun, and in soil that is quite sandy and dry – winter wet is the enemy. In warmer zones it is more tolerant of heavier soils, and in practice it will grow in almost all places except wet and boggy ones. It has no noticeable pests or diseases, and it is resistant to deer, rabbits, heat, humidity and ordinary periods of drought. Too little water will reduce its overall size, but otherwise doesn’t affect it much. The only care needed is to cut the clump back to 3 or 4 inches tall in late winter or early spring – that’s it – and it takes just a moment to do.
Pink Muhly Grass is Muhlenbergia capillaris, named after an amateur botanist and Pennsylvanian pastor of the 18th century, Gotthilf Henry Ernest Muhlenberg. Also known as pink hair grass, this native grass grows in open woodlands, prairies, and pine barrens throughout the east, from Massachusetts to Florida and Texas, and west into Kansas. Because it is native it is perfect for natural gardening, and if you want to avoid planting alien, potentially-invasive plants. In some states it has become extinct in the wild, or very rare, so by growing it in your garden you are helping to keep this beautiful native plant alive.
Bring an extra dimension of beauty to your garden, and plant Pink Muhly Grass to bring gorgeous late color, with virtually no work or care needed. These plants are highly sought-after, and our stock is limited, and sells fast. Order now and take your garden to a higher level of beauty and charm.
The best time to plant Pink Muhly Grass is in the spring or early summer when the weather starts to warm. This is because Pink Muhly Grass is a warm-season grass and it doesn’t start growing until the weather is warm. However, it is hardy from zone 5, so it can tolerate colder temperatures once established.
Pink Muhly Grass is quite drought-tolerant once established, but it does enjoy some water during the dry parts of summer. It’s best to water it deeply once a week during dry periods. However, it’s important to ensure that the soil has good drainage as it prefers sandy, rocky soils and doesn’t like to sit in waterlogged soil.
Yes, Pink Muhly Grass can be grown in containers. Its clumping growth habit makes it an ideal choice for container gardening. The plant’s slender grassy stems and airy pink flowers can add a unique texture and color to your container garden. Just make sure to choose a container with good drainage.
Pink Muhly Grass can be propagated by division. Since it forms tight, dense clumps and doesn’t spread outwards, you can simply divide the clump in the spring or early summer. Each division should have a good amount of roots and foliage. Plant the divisions in a sunny location with well-drained soil.
Pink Muhly Grass is not particularly attractive to deer or rabbits, making it a good choice for gardens where these animals are a problem. However, its pink to purple-pink flowers can attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, adding more life and activity to your garden.
Pink Muhly Grass is a versatile plant that can be combined with a variety of other plants. Its late bloom time makes it a perfect companion for spring and summer flowering plants, as it will keep the color coming when they have finished blooming. It also combines well with just about any other garden color, so you can pair it with plants that have red, yellow, blue, or white flowers for a vibrant and colorful display.
Pink Muhly Grass typically grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches tall, with the flowering stems reaching about 3 feet when mature. This makes it a medium-sized grass that can be used in the middle or back of a border, or as a focal point in a garden bed.
Pink Muhly Grass is a low-maintenance plant. It has no noticeable pests or diseases, and it is resistant to deer, rabbits, heat, humidity, and drought. The only care it really requires is to be cut back to 3 or 4 inches tall in late winter or early spring to encourage new growth.
Pink Muhly Grass is a deciduous grass. This means it loses its leaves in the winter. However, even after the leaves have died back, the flowering stems remain and turn attractive tones of tan and soft beige, providing interest in the garden throughout the winter months.
Yes, Pink Muhly Grass can be used for erosion control. Its ability to grow in a variety of soils, including sandy and rocky ones, makes it a good choice for stabilizing slopes and preventing soil erosion. Its dense, clumping growth habit also helps to hold the soil in place.