Variegated Maiden GrassMiscanthus sinensis var. variegatus
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Miscanthus sinensis var. variegatus
Outdoor Growing zone
The Variegated Maiden Grass is a beautiful and bright ornamental grass, growing up to 8 feet tall when in bloom, with a width of about 5 feet. It forms a dense clump and never spreads. The leaves arch up and over, and each one is unique, with a pattern of long stripes in shades of white, different yellows and light to dark greens. The overall effect is bright, and this grass is perfect to bring interest to your beds. It fits into all styles of garden, and is easy to grow.
The Variegated Maiden Grass should be grown in full sun to prevent it flopping, and in any well-drained soil that is not dry. Regular moisture, but not constant wetness, is best. Pests, diseases and deer leave it alone, and the only care needed is to cut it down to 8 inches tall in late fall, or late winter, depending on how much snow you normally have.
Of all the ornamental grasses grown today – and there are many – nothing comes close to maiden grass, or silver grass, for beauty, ease of growth, and most importantly, for staying where you plant it. Completely non-invasive, these grasses bring a modern look to your garden, and make everything else you grow look better. You could have a traditional garden and maiden grass fits right in to it. You could also have a modern, minimalist garden – perhaps a city courtyard – and maiden grass looks just as striking. Not only is there the soothing rustle in the breezes; there is grace and charm in its arching growth; the striking flower-heads that come late in the season; and the way it creates brightness in your garden. A big favorite of everyone is the Variegated Maiden Grass, whose striped white and green leaves radiate light across the garden, and look magnificent among darker shrubs, or against a dark wooden fence. So easy to grow, and yet so rewarding, if you aren’t growing grasses yet, you should be, and if you aren’t growing this one, you must.
The Variegated Maiden Grass is a large perennial grass that develops into a dense clump, without spreading wide and invading surrounding spaces. It develops to its full size of 5 or 6 feet tall in a single growing season, once established, and the blooms grow a further 2 feet above the leaves. By the end of the season an established plant will be 4 to 5 feet wide, so allow plenty of room when planting. The stems grow up slowly, and the leaves rise up and arch over, making a fountain effect. Each leaf is between ½ and ¾ of an inch wide, and striped from top to bottom with several bands of color, ranging from pure white through yellow into pale green and then dark green. Each leaf is subtly different in its banding, and the overall effect is lively, sparkling, and from a distance it looks almost white, as the green fades in importance.
By mid-summer, in warm zones, and as late as early fall in cooler ones, the flower-spikes will grow from the top of the stems, rising about 2 feet above the foliage. These slender stems are topped with a tassel of silver-pink flower spikes, about 8 inches long, which arch outwards as they expand. This is one of the most attractive flowers of any ornamental grass. With young plants, and when grown in places with very cool, damp summers, the flower spikes may not always develop fully before cold weather stops growth. The colder weather of fall turns the leaves a pale tan color, persisting into the winter, and even until spring in warm zones.
Grow the Variegated Maiden Grass as a specimen plant on a lawn. Plant it among shrubs and flowers in beds, for height and variety. Grow it between clipped bushes for a striking contrast. Use it alone in clumps or rows for a very modern landscaping effect. It makes a very effective temporary screen for summer and fall. This beautiful plant fits into any garden, and any architecture or garden style, from casual, semi-wild gardens to the most formal arrangement. It is a good choice for beach areas that are not too dry, because it is resistant to salt spray.
The Variegated Maiden Grass grows well in all warm and hot zones, from zone 5 to zone 9. This is a ‘warm season’ grass, meaning that growth does not begin until the soil warms, and air temperatures are higher, about 75 degrees. However it remains attractive and vigorous even during very hot weather, unlike some other grasses that are only attractive in spring.
Full sun is best for the Variegated Maiden Grass. More than just a little partial shade will make it floppy and then it may need staking, so avoid shady areas, especially for this particular variety. It grows in any well-drained soil, but not in very dry soils, preferring a regular supply of water through summer. Both acid and alkaline soils are tolerated well, and this plant has moderate resistance to salt spray.
Ignored by pests, diseases and by deer as well, Variegated Maiden Grass is easy to grow and needs very little care. Some gardeners like to leave maiden grasses until spring to cut down, for winter interest, but this variety is easily flattened by snow. We recommend cutting it down in late fall or early winter if you live in an area that experiences snow regularly, as it can damage surrounding plants by lying on them all winter. Cut back to 6 or 8 inches tall. This grass will not sprout in spring until the soil and air warm, so many gardeners plant early-flowering bulbs around it, to fill the empty space until it sprouts.
The maiden grass, Miscanthus sinensis, is also called Chinese or Japanese silver grass, and Eulalia grass. You would find it growing wild in many parts of China, Japan and Korea. The variety called ‘Variegatus’ seems to have been found naturally in the 19th century, possibly in Korea. It was already being grown in American gardens by the end of that century. It was first described by William James Beal, a 19th century American botanist at what is today’s Michigan State University. He was an expert on grasses, and a pioneer in scientific agriculture, who created the first hybrid corn varieties.
For a wonderful sparking look, and a beautiful lift to your beds, you can’t beat the Variegated Maiden Grass. Ornamental grasses have become hugely popular, and our stock always sells out very quickly. You should order your plants now, or they will all be gone when you come back.