Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ravenna Grass, Sugar Cane


Saccharum alopecuroides ( Silver Plumegrass )
A very large, very upright grass, reaching up to 10 feet in height, that is native to open sandy woodlands in the eastern U.S. ( from western Missouri to southern Indiana to New Jersey; south to eastern Texas to far northern Florida ).
The leaves are up to an inch across.
The silvery plumes are up to 12 inches in length.
Hardy zones 7 to 9

Saccharum arundinaceum ( Hardy Sugar Cane )
A very fast growing, spectacular ornamental grass, forming a foliage clump, up to 10 x 12 feet, that is native to China; south to India to Malaysia.
The arching leaves are up to 5 feet in length and an inch across. The open purplish-pink flower plumes, reaching up to 15 feet in height, are borne during late summer. The flower plumes are up to 2 feet in length each.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 in full sun to partial shade.

Saccharum contortum ( Bent Awn Plume Grass )
An upright perennial grass, reaching up to 10 feet, that is native to moist prairies and pine savanna in the eastern U.S. ( from eastern Oklahoma to central Kentucky to Delaware; south to eastern Texas to northern Florida ).
The flower plumes are up to 20 inches in length.
Hardy zones 6 to 9.

Saccharum giganteum ( Sugarcane Plume Grass )
A very tall perennial grass, reaching up to 10 feet with foliage that turns an excellent deep red to bronze-purple during autumn. It is native to low woods and swamps in the southeastern U.S. ( from western Oklahoma to southern Illinois to central Kentucky to New York City; south to central Texas to southern Florida ). It is extinct in southeast Pennsylvania and endangered in Oklahoma, Missouri and Delaware.
The leaf blades are up to 1 inch wide.
The large, fluffy flower plumes are borne late summer to early autumn and are intense pink-red at first, drying to pale pink.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on moist to wet soil.

Saccharum officiniarum 'Pete's Smoke'
A non-flowering, dark blackish-purple foliage form of the tropical Sugar Cane, reaching up to 8 feet in height ( 6 x 3 feet as an annual ). The purplish-black canes are themselves attractive.
Where hardy, this is among the most spectacular ornamental grasses for use in the landscape and looks exceptionally well against a white stucco background.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 in full sun on moist, well drained soil. Prefers hot humid climates. To over winter in cold climates, bring indoors just after the first frost and keep in a cool garage or unheated greenhouse ( where minimum temperature wont go below 40 F ) for the winter.
Propagation is from 4 inch cane cuttings rooted in moist sand or division.

Saccharum ravennae ( Ravenna Grass )
A massive perennial grass, forming a foliage clump up to 10 x 10 feet, that is similar to Pampas Grass in appearance. It is native from southern Europe to western Asia.
The foliage is gray-green during summer, turning to orange, deep red and purple during autumn. The serrated leaves can be up to 40 x 0.3 inches in size.
The huge showy flower plumes are up to 12 rarely 20 feet high. They are borne in spring and are silvery-bronze drying to silver, lasting into winter. A mature plant may produce up to 40 plumes. The Ravenna Grass is sometimes called Hardy Pampas Grass due to its resemblance to the Cortaderia-Pampas Grass. During the winter, the dried plants look great against a dark background.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in full sun on fertile, moist, well drained soil.
Drought tolerant and deer resistant, it is not prone to pests or disease. Clumps should be cut back to 4 inches in height, during late winter before new growth begins. Propagation is from seed or division during early spring.

* photo taken on Oct 14 2010 in Columbia, MD

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken on Aug 24 2013 in Columbia, MD
* photo taken on Sep 3 2013 in Ellicott City, MD

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