Spring is a good time to plant it. Consider it in your landscape. One more thing, it loves to be divided, giving you endless freebies. I can’t stop talking about this plant.
I like plants that do a good job. They grow with little effort, save me money and look nice even in the depths of winter.
So far, I’ve found only one that does all that. It’s pampas grass, and I cannot get enough of it –– obviously. I have four plants in my yard and tend another big guy next door. Not bad for a plant considered a weed in its native Uruguay.
Pampas grass is easy to identify. It offers “blades” of grass from about a foot to six feet tall. This grows in attractive green clumps in summer and turns rust color in fall, and then tan in winter.
In mid-fall, the big surprise happens: Suddenly, the plant sends out long stalks that open into plumes of what only can be described as feathers. These astounding “flowers” are gorgeous catching the wind. Get up early and watch the dawn reflect off them.
I’m an unrequited beach lover, and pampas grass reminds me of lazy summers. That’s another benefit; pampas grass is a perfect solution to erosion because it sends out turf roots that can hold a sand dune against a hurricane.
Right now, my pampas grass is still in bloom and fantastic against a snowy tapestry. I harvest the plumes each year, and my wife uses them in arrangements. We have some that are 10 years old.
Pampas grass was not always such a venerated plant. One hundred years ago, they were grown as foundation plants around windows because their blades are sharp and will thwart burglars.
The plants were ignored for years until North Carolina horticulturists began planting them along the Atlantic Coast. That’s still where a lot of the pampas grass is grown. (Note that it’s illegal to dig it up on beaches.)
In the plant store, pampas grass is totally underwhelming because it looks like a scraggily mess. Fear not, there’s a beautiful thing there.
Plant a clump shallowly. Add compost and water well. That’s all you need. It likes sun but grows in medium shade. It adores an open area where the wind makes it a plant in motion.
In March, I head out with my hedge trimmer and cut it down to about five inches. It looks like I’m destroying the plant, but I’m doing it a favor. Untrimmed, its center will die and rot. Trimmed makes room for new growth and allows the sun to penetrate.
By June, your plant will be regenerated and will keep growing until autumn.
I wind up with a pile of straw, which I use to mulch our bulb beds. It lasts all summer before disappearing and enriching the soil.
Let’s see. Do I have everything covered? Oh, pampas grass has no known predators. Its sharp leaves thwart deer, and I’ve yet to see any bug damage, including Japanese beetles.
Spring is a good time to plant it. Consider it in your landscape. One more thing, it loves to be divided, giving you endless freebies.
I can’t stop talking about this plant.