Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Feather Grass


These are just a few of a genus of very beautiful, fine textured ornamental grasses. They are easy to grow and rarely bothered by insect pests or disease however do require very well drained soil.

Stipa gigantea ( Giant Feather Grass )
A vigorous, long-lived, evergreen, cool-season perennial grass, forming a foliage clump reaching a maximum size of 3 x 6 feet, that is native to Portugal, Spain and Morocco.
The linear leaves are mid-green.
The tan color flower plumes, up to 8 feet high, are borne mid-summer until early autumn.
Hardy zones 7 to 9 ( 6 on protected site ) in full sun on fertile, light, well drained soil. It thrives best in cool summer climates such as the Pacific Northwest and western Europe. It can be grown from seed or division done during early spring.

Stipa tenuissima ( Mexican Feather Grass )
Also called Nassella tenuissima. A fast growing, compact, perennial grass, forming a clump of fine textured, feathery foliage, up to 3 x 2 ( rarely over 2.5 ) feet. In mild climates, it will act as a cool season but evergreen grass. It is native to hillsides and open woodlands from New Mexico to western Texas. It is an excellent plant for extremely hot parking medians and looks great mixed with large bolders to contrast its soft texture.
The silky flower plumes are borne early summer and lasting into autumn.
This very finely textured grass looks great with Firepower Nandinas, Red Cannas and boulders especially when massed. The foliage turns from green to straw color during autumn and winter.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun on very well drained to dry soil. Drought tolerant and not eaten by deer. It can be sheared back during early spring to remove older foliage thus giving it a cleaner lusher appearance when the new foliage emerges.
It should not be planted in central California where it is too vigorous and in some places has become invasive, in most of the eastern U.S., it has shown no invasive tendencies.

* photos taken on June 20 2012 in Columbia, MD
* photo taken on Aug 14 2010 in Clarksville, MD

* photo taken on Oct 14 2010 in Clarksville, MD

* photos taken on Dec 14 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Mar 19 2013 in Columbia, MD

* closely related Nassella laevissima which is a native of Chile

* photo taken on June 1 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Feb 25 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photo taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.

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