Hardy pampas grass refers to cultivars or varieties of pampas grass that are able to tolerate colder temperatures and harsher winter conditions than the typical pampas grass.
Some hardy pampas grass cultivars have been developed specifically for colder regions and can survive in USDA hardiness zones 6 or even 5, where temperatures can drop well below freezing. These cultivars are often bred for their ability to produce shorter, sturdier stems and better cold tolerance.
Examples of hardy pampas grass cultivars include ‘Pumila’, ‘Sunningdale Silver’, ‘Silver Fountain’, and ‘Andes Silver’. These cultivars are known for their hardiness, drought tolerance, and large, showy plumes.
It’s important to note that even hardy pampas grass may still require some winter protection in colder regions. You can help protect the plant by cutting back the foliage in the fall and covering the base of the plant with a layer of mulch or straw. Additionally, planting in a sheltered location and providing some winter protection can help ensure the success of hardy pampas grass in colder regions.
What Is Hardy Pampas Grass?
Hardy pampas grass is the common name for a species of grass native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean. This distinguishes it from true pampas grass, which is native to Brazil. You should also take note of the scientific name of Hardy pampas grass, Erianthus ravennae, and that it is also called Ravenna grass or plume grass.
A fully-flowered shrub of this species can grow up to 10 feet tall, making it one of the tallest grasses in the world. The height of the foliage, excluding the fall-time light and feathery plumes or flowers, can extend from 8 feet to 10 feet. The grass’s spread can be anywhere from 4 feet to 6 feet. Flower stalks start to pop out around fall in late September to late October.
|Common Name||Hardy Pampas Grass|
|Scientific Name||Erianthus ravennae|
|Height & Spread||6-10 ft tall and 4-6 ft wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun to partial shade|
|USDA Growing Zones||Zones 5-9|
|Water||Low to moderate watering|
|Soil Type||Well-drained soil|
|Pests & Diseases||Susceptible to rust and fungal diseases|
|Bloom Time||Late summer to early fall|
|Flower Color||Silvery white to pinkish plumes|
|Native Area||Southern Europe, Western Asia|
When to Plant Hardy Pampas Grass?
Hardy pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is typically best planted in the early spring or early fall. These seasons provide the most favorable conditions for the establishment and growth of the plant.
- Spring Planting: Planting pampas grass in the spring allows it to take advantage of the warming temperatures and longer days. It gives the plant a chance to establish its roots before the summer heat sets in. Aim to plant in the spring after the last frost has passed and the soil has started to warm up.
- Fall Planting: Fall planting is also a suitable option for hardy pampas grass. Planting in the fall allows the grass to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and ample rainfall. The plant has time to establish its root system before the onset of winter dormancy. Aim to plant in the early fall, giving the roots enough time to settle in before the ground freezes.
It’s important to note that pampas grass prefers well-draining soil and full sunlight. Before planting, prepare the soil by loosening it and removing any weeds or grass. Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the root ball of the plant. Place the pampas grass in the hole, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly.
Pampas grass is more commonly planted in areas with mild winters and moderate to warm summers. If you live in an area with harsh winters or extreme heat, it’s advisable to consult with local gardening experts or horticultural resources to determine the best time for planting hardy pampas grass in your specific location.
These grass species are popularly used for decoration and are commonly called ornamental grasses. The majestic towering height and beautiful white flowers are very attractive. If you have enough space in your yard, these ornamental grasses can make the perfect central attraction.
Hardy pampas grass (common name) is not only used as ornamental grass, but its height and thick leaves also make it suitable as a green privacy screen or hedge. If you prefer a dry specimen, you can use this for floral arrangements. Feel free to use both fresh and dried flowers.
Hardy pampas grass care
Hardy pampas varieties may be acceptable in some places. If you are in a region where propagation is not illegal and the weather is ideal, you might need some tips about growing the grass. These grasses are drought resilient. Some of the other advantages of this ornamental grass include attracting birds to the flower parts, being easy to grow, deer resistance, and winter interest.
These grasses grow best in USDA Zones 6- 9. They prefer warmer regions, but if you choose to grow them in a colder area such as Zone 4, it’s best to do so in a large flower container. You can keep them outdoors to receive as much sun as possible during the summer, spring, and fall seasons. When fall ends and the cold winter months roll around, it’s advisable to carry the flowerpot into a warmer indoor location, when possible. The size and space requirements of the full-grown grass make can make it challenging for those growing the plant in Zone 4 and other cold regions.
With this pampas species, in particular, only average water is required, and the soil should be well-drained. Partially sandy soil is ideal. This is a drought-resistant plant.
When it comes to choosing which soil to grow your pampas plant specimen in, it is best to select a well-drained one.
These tall ornamental grasses grow best in the full light of the sun. Its structure need not be sheltered or shaded by trees or roofs for optimal growth.
As a hardy pampas grass, Erianthus ravennae is great all year round where foliage is concerned. This perennial plant stands tall in springtime, summer, fall, and winter. The bloom time for the characteristic light and feather-like white flowers is from late summer to early fall.
The most common way to propagate specimens of this tall hardy grass is by division during the spring season.
The thick leaves of the tall grass can take up a very wide area. You should fall into the habit of pruning them down annually to keep them in check. Spring is one of the best times for pruning this drought-tolerant plant. The simplest way you can do this is using some sharp shears or a saw. To protect yourself, you should make it a habit to wear gloves and long sleeves during pruning the grass. Hardy pampas varieties can cut you if not.
Doing this during the springtime leaves enough time for the tall grass to recover and produce more flowers when the next late summer and fall come around.
How Deep is the root system of Hardy Pampas Grass?
The root system of Hardy pampas grass can extend quite deep into the soil. On average, the roots of pampas grass can penetrate the ground to a depth of 3 to 6 feet or more, depending on the soil conditions and available water.
Pampas grass is known for its vigorous growth and adaptability, and its extensive root system plays a crucial role in providing stability and access to nutrients and water. The deep roots help the plant withstand harsh conditions, including drought and strong winds.
When planting pampas grass, it’s important to consider its deep-rooted nature. Ensure that you provide enough space for the roots to spread out and establish. Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the root ball, ensuring that the roots are not cramped or restricted.
The deep root system of pampas grass can make it challenging to remove or transplant once established. If you plan to plant pampas grass, choose the location carefully, as it can be difficult to control and remove if it becomes invasive or unwanted.
Is Hardy Pampas Grass invasive?
Yes, hardy pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) can be considered invasive in some regions. Native to South America, pampas grass has been introduced to various parts of the world as an ornamental plant. Its ability to spread rapidly and establish dense stands makes it a concern in certain ecosystems.
Pampas grass can outcompete native vegetation, disrupt natural habitats, and alter ecological processes. Its large plumes produce numerous seeds that are easily dispersed by wind, water, or human activity. These seeds can germinate and establish new plants, leading to the expansion of pampas grass populations.
To prevent the invasive spread of pampas grass, it is important to exercise caution when planting it. In regions where it is considered invasive, it is generally recommended to avoid planting pampas grass altogether or to choose non-invasive alternatives for landscaping purposes.
If pampas grass is already present in an area where it is considered invasive, it may require management strategies such as regular cutting, controlled burning, or the application of herbicides to control its spread and reduce its impact on native ecosystems.
How Fast Does Hardy Pampas Grass Grow?
This type of hardy winter interest grass grows at a rate of 2 to 3 feet per year under ideal conditions. As long as it is in the right growing region and has lots of natural light and well-drained soil, you can expect the plant to shoot from 6 feet all the way up to 12 feet or even 14 feet in some cases within no time. It can take anywhere from 2 to 4 years for the tall grass to reach full maturity. If you need a privacy screen, then this fast-growing species may be worth investing in.
Hardy Pampas Grass for Sale
Growing your specimens can be a lot of fun if gardening is a pastime and habit you enjoy. It is best to plant the grass 6 feet to 8 feet apart to give room for the spread. These plants can grow out by a few feet or up to 8 feet when fully mature. When the summer and fall arrive, it’s time to start cutting the white flowers to take indoors or dry. You can buy the small and light grass seeds online and start your own plants and flowers from scratch.
If you prefer to buy dried pampas grass to include in your flower arrangements, then you can buy it online as well. Its beautiful white flowers make it the perfect addition to a home or office for a clean and sophisticated look. You can also look into other varieties with pink flowers if you prefer.
Hardy Pampas Grass FAQ
Pampas grass is quite resilient to harsh weather conditions. It usually grows in USDA zones 6, 7, 8, and 9. Zone 4 or 5 might be too cold. It prefers full sun, but it is also classed as a winter interest species. In colder areas, the grasses can still be grown, but it is recommended that you place them in containers and bring these indoors after the fall during the winter months.
As lovely as this ornamental grass is, there is a downside too. It is illegal in some parts of the world because of the aforementioned invasive behavior. The grass is called a noxious weed in Australia because it can threaten the natural environment and other plant species. For that reason, the country forbids its locals from the sale of such grasses.
Pampas grass is also illegal in other parts of the world with various restrictions on selling and growing the hardy plant. These places include South Africa, New Zealand, and Hawaii.
The Pampas grass Erianthus ravennae is one of the most eye-catching ornamental grasses. This tall species fills up space where it is grown without any difficulty, spreading anywhere from a few feet to 8 feet across. This makes it perfect as a decorative flower plant or privacy screen.
Towards the late summer months and the beginning of the fall season, the white or light pink flowers start to come out for you to enjoy. There’s a lot to love about these tall hardy plants, but you also have to pay attention to their large size and invasive behavior.