Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pampas Grass


An excellent architectural focal point plant or screen for full sun on deep, well drained soil with the added benefit of being deer resistant.

Cortaderia araucana
Similar to Cortaderia sellowana but is hardier, likely tolerating much lower than 0 F.

Cortaderia richardii ( New Zealand Pampas Grass )
Rarely grown in North America; this New Zealand native forms HUGE clumps with arching stems reaching up to 20 x 10 feet! It is found in swamps and along riverbanks in its native range.
The white flowers plumes are borne late summer into early fall.
Hardy north to zone 7. It is native to swampy places and lowlands and prefers full sun on moist, light soil.

Cortaderia sellowana ( Argentine Pampas Grass )
Native to Argentina and commonly cultivated in the southern and Mid Atlantic U.S.
The Argentine Pampas Grass is among the most regal and stately of all ornamental grasses reaching up to 12 ( record is 20 ) x 15 feet with huge silvery-white plumes reaching up to 40 inches in length. The plumes look great against a dark background.
The arching, saw-toothed leaves, up to 9 feet in length, are blue-green.
The foliage is evergreen in mild climates but turns herbaceous in colder winter climates.
Hardy zone 7 to 10. It can survive zone 7 winters with the clumps tied up and the root zone mulches well but is not hardy farther north. Do not cut back until early spring. For zones 5 and 6 check out some of the cultivars below. Not only is it drought tolerant, but the Argentine Pampas Grass has invasive potential in dry summer Medeiterranean Regions of California, Europe and New Zealand.
Deer and rabbit resistant. Salt tolerant.

* photo taken by John D. Guthrie @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photo

'Andes Silver'
Compact habit to 5 x 5 feet with prolific, large creamy white flowers plumes reaching a height of 7 feet. Hardier than regular Pampas Grass, thriving from zones 5 to 10

* photos taken on July 28 2010 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 18 2011 in Columbia, MD
* photos taken on July 27 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 1 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 8 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 5 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 29 2018 in Columbia, MD

'Blue Bayou'
Compact in habit, reaching a maximum size of 6 x 6 feet
The foliage is blue-green.
The upright, dense plumes are creamy-white.
Hardy zones 6 to 10

* photo taken on Sep 3 2017 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

'Gold Band'
Reaches a maximum size of 8 x 8 feet, with foliage that is striped golden-yellow.

'Pumila' ( Dwarf Pampas Grass )
Almost "dwarf", with foliage reaching up to 5 x 5 feet and profuse, creamy white flower plumes reaching up to 7 feet. It has been reported to be hardier than the species to zone 6, even surviving north into zone 5 on sheltered sites with a pine mulch.

'Rosea' ( Pink Pampas Grass )
Tall with stately foliage reaching up to 8 x 13 with stunning rosy-pink plumes reaching a maximum height of 12 feet in late summer and fall. Very fast growing, can reach 8 feet in a single season from a gallon size plant.
Evergreen north to zone 7; surviving into zones 5 and 6 as a deciduous perennial if on a protected site and under a light mulch ( pine needles work, leaves or mulch might smother the crown ).

* historic archive photo

'Sunningdale Silver'
Gigantic, reaching a maximum size of 20 x 13 ( usually about half that ) feet, with strong stems bearing very abundant flower plumes.

Grown for its huge ivory white plumes reaching up to 7 feet in height plus its extra winter hardiness ( fully hardy north into zone 6 ). It was originally discovered in the Andes foothills in Argentina in a village called Usballata.

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