If you are familiar with hardy pampas grass (common name), you know how the foliage and attractive plumes can steal the show in any garden landscape. This tall grass is fast-growing and comes in different color plumes, such as white or pink, which appear toward the fall. To learn more about this hardy grass, read on.
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 14 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 6 feet to 8 feet. Flower stalks start to pop out around fall in late September to late October.
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.
How Cold Hardy Is Pampas Grass?
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.
Is Hardy Pampas Grass Invasive?
One of the main challenges with propagating a specimen of these ornamental grasses is the invasive nature. Like most grasses, these tall plants flower to produce a high volume of seeds that are spread using wind dispersal. A large shrub can produce millions of seeds each year, which are spread many miles away. If left unchecked, these grasses can take over the area. Their resilience and large size can make them difficult to eliminate once that has happened.
This grass grows very quickly in large clumps of thick green leaves. It is common to see this invasive plant along roadsides and riverbanks.
Why Is Hardy Pampas Grass Illegal?
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.
Growing Conditions for Ravenna Grass
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 Fast Does Pampas Grass Grow?
This type of hardy winter interest grass grows very fast and tall. 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- 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.
Where to Find Hardy Pampas Grass Erianthus?
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.
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.