How to Grow Pampas Grass

pampas grass
pampas grass

Welcome to the world of pampas grass, where elegance meets nature’s beauty. Whether you’re a landscape designer, garden enthusiast, or a beginner gardener, growing pampas grass can add a touch of grace and charm to any outdoor space. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the facts about growing pampas, learning how to grow pampas grass, discuss how to grow it from seed, explore the essential care it requires, and even touch upon the art of harvesting, drying, storing, and selling pampas grass. So let’s embark on this journey and discover the secrets of nurturing this stunning ornamental grass.

Facts About Growing Pampas

Pampas grass, also known as Cortaderia selloana, is native to the South American grasslands and has gained immense popularity for its tall plumes and feathery appearance. Here are some fascinating facts to get you acquainted with this extraordinary plant:

Understanding Pampas Grass

Pampas grass is a perennial grass that can grow up to 10 feet tall, creating a breathtaking display in any landscape. Its long, elegant blades and large, showy plumes make it a favorite choice for adding drama and texture to gardens and outdoor spaces.

The Perfect Growing Conditions for Pampas Grass

For pampas grass to thrive and flourish, it requires specific growing conditions. Choose a location with full sun exposure, as pampas grass requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Additionally, it prefers well-draining soil to avoid root rot. Ensure you plant it in an area with good air circulation to prevent diseases.

FactorPampas Grass
Botanical NameCortaderia selloana
Plant TypeOrnamental Grass
Height & Spread6-10 feet height, 4-6 feet spread
Sun ExposureFull sun, partial
USDA Growing ZonesZones 7-11
WaterDrought-tolerant, moderate watering during establishment
Soil TypeWell-draining soil
Soil pHNeutral to slightly acidic
Bloom TimeLate summer to early autumn
Flower ColorCreamy white, pink, or silver
Native AreaSouth America

Types of Pampas Grass

Pampas grass encompasses several different types or cultivars, each with its own unique characteristics. Here are some popular types of Pampas grass:

  1. Cortaderia selloana ‘Rosea’: This cultivar features stunning pink plumes, adding a soft and romantic touch to landscapes. It grows to a height of 6-10 feet and has a spread of 4-6 feet. ‘Rosea’ is a favored choice for its delicate and feminine appearance.
  2. Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’: Also known as Dwarf Pampas grass, ‘Pumila’ is a smaller variety, reaching a height of around 4-6 feet and a spread of 3-4 feet. It produces compact, fluffy white plumes, making it suitable for smaller gardens or containers.
  3. Cortaderia selloana ‘Sunningdale Silver’: This cultivar stands out with its silvery-gray foliage and creamy white plumes. ‘Sunningdale Silver’ grows to a similar height and spread as the species, with its striking coloration providing an eye-catching contrast in gardens.
  4. Cortaderia jubata: Also known as Purple Pampas grass, this species displays purplish-pink plumes that add a unique and vibrant touch to landscapes. It grows slightly taller than Cortaderia selloana, with a height ranging from 8-12 feet.
  5. Cortaderia selloana ‘Gold Band’: This cultivar stands out with its distinctive variegated foliage, featuring golden stripes that accentuate the green blades. ‘Gold Band’ produces the classic creamy white plumes and grows to a similar height and spread as the species.

More: Types and Varieties of Pampas Grass

Pros and Cons of Growing Pampas Grass

Adds Elegance and Beauty to LandscapesCan Be Invasive in Some Regions
Provides Texture and Visual InterestRequires Adequate Space for Growth
Drought-Tolerant and Low MaintenanceRequires Regular Pruning and Maintenance
Attracts Wildlife, Such as Birds and ButterfliesCan Cause Allergic Reactions in Some Individuals
Creates Privacy and Screens Unsightly ViewsMay Require Rhizome Control to Prevent Spread
Offers Sound and Wind BarriersCan Be Challenging to Remove Once Established

It’s important to note that the pros and cons of growing Pampas grass can vary depending on the specific region, growing conditions, and individual preferences. Considering these factors will help you make an informed decision about whether Pampas grass is suitable for your garden or landscaping needs.

Growing Pampas Grass from Seed

Growing pampas grass from seed can be a rewarding experience. Here’s how to get started:

Selecting Pampas Grass Seeds

When selecting pampas grass seeds, opt for reputable seed suppliers or nurseries. Look for seeds that are fresh, viable, and suited to your climate. Some popular varieties include ‘Rosea,’ ‘Pumila,’ and ‘Sunningdale Silver.’

Propagating Pampas Grass from Seeds

To begin the germination process, soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours. Afterward, sow the seeds in a tray or pots filled with well-draining soil. Lightly cover them with soil and mist them with water. Place the tray or pots in a warm location with ample sunlight. Keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds germinate, which typically takes around two to three weeks. Once the seedlings are a few inches tall, you can transplant them into the desired location in your garden.

Read: Planting Pampas Grass Seeds

Tips for Growing Pampas Grass

Here are three tips for successfully growing Pampas grass:

  1. Choose the Right Location: Pampas grass thrives in full sun, so it’s essential to select a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Additionally, ensure that the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.
  2. Proper Watering: During the establishment phase, Pampas grass requires regular watering to develop a robust root system. Water deeply and thoroughly, ensuring that the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Once established, Pampas grass is quite drought-tolerant and generally requires minimal watering. However, during extended periods of drought, provide supplemental watering to prevent excessive stress on the plants.
  3. Regular Maintenance: Proper maintenance is vital for the overall health and appearance of Pampas grass. In late winter or early spring, before new growth emerges, prune the grass back to a height of 6 to 12 inches to remove dead foliage and encourage fresh growth.

Caring for Pampas Grass

Caring for pampas grass is relatively straightforward. By following these guidelines, you can ensure its health and vitality:

Watering and Fertilizing Pampas Grass

Pampas grass is known for its drought tolerance once established. However, during its initial growth phase, it’s crucial to water it regularly to help establish a strong root system. Water deeply once or twice a week, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Once established, pampas grass generally doesn’t require additional watering unless there is an extended period of drought.

Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring to provide essential nutrients to the grass. Follow the recommended application rates on the fertilizer packaging to avoid overfertilization, which can lead to excessive foliage growth and weakened plumes.

Pruning and Maintenance Tips

Pruning pampas grass is essential to maintain its health and prevent it from becoming invasive. In late winter or early spring, before new growth emerges, cut back the grass to a height of 6 to 12 inches. Take caution as the grass blades can be sharp, so wearing protective gloves and clothing is advisable. Remove any dead or damaged foliage and tidy up the area around the plant.

More: How To Take Care of Pampas Grass

Harvesting Pampas Grass

Harvesting pampas grass can be a delightful way to extend your enjoyment of this beautiful plant. Here’s how you can do it:

When to Harvest Pampas Grass

The best time to harvest pampas grass is in late summer or early autumn when the plumes have reached their full size and have a fluffy, feather-like appearance. Make sure to choose a dry day to avoid moisture-related issues during the drying process.

Drying and Storing Pampas Grass Plumes

To dry pampas grass plumes, cut them with sharp pruning shears, leaving a few inches of stalk attached. Bundle the plumes together and hang them upside down in a cool, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Allow them to dry for several weeks until they become crisp and pliable.

Once dried, gently shake the plumes to remove any loose seeds or debris. Store them in a dry, airtight container or use them immediately for various decorative purposes, such as flower arrangements, wreaths, or as standalone focal points in vases.

Pampas grass in vase

Selling Pampas Grass for Decorative Purposes

Pampas grass has become highly sought after for its ornamental value. If you have an abundance of pampas grass, you can consider selling it for decorative purposes. Local florists, event planners, and online marketplaces are excellent avenues for showcasing and selling your pampas grass creations. Take advantage of social media platforms to reach a wider audience and connect with potential buyers.

How to care for pampas grass in vase

Caring for dry pampas grass in a vase requires minimal maintenance but is still important to ensure its longevity and preserve its appearance. Here are some tips on how to care for dry pampas grass in a vase:

  1. Placement: Choose a suitable location for the dried pampas grass arrangement. Keep it away from direct sunlight, as exposure to UV rays can cause the plumes to fade over time. Avoid placing it in areas with high humidity, as moisture can cause the plumes to lose their shape or develop mold.
  2. Gentle Handling: Handle the dried pampas grass with care, as the plumes can be fragile and prone to shedding. Avoid excessive touching or moving of the arrangement to minimize the risk of damage.
  3. Dusting: Dust the dried pampas grass periodically to keep it clean and maintain its visual appeal. Use a soft feather duster or a hairdryer set to a cool, low-speed setting to gently remove any dust or debris from the plumes.
  4. Avoid Water: Unlike fresh pampas grass, dried pampas grass does not require water. In fact, adding water to the vase can cause the plumes to become damp and lose their shape. Keep the vase dry and empty, focusing on the aesthetic value of the dried arrangement.

By following these care tips, you can enjoy the beauty and longevity of dried pampas grass in a vase. Regular maintenance and gentle handling will help preserve its appearance and ensure that it remains an elegant decorative element in your space.

Does pampas grass spread

Yes, Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) has the potential to spread and colonize areas if not properly managed. It is a rhizomatous grass, meaning it spreads through underground stems called rhizomes. These rhizomes can extend horizontally, giving rise to new shoots and plants.

Pampas grass can spread both by seed dispersal and through the expansion of its rhizomes. The plant produces large plumes with feathery seeds that can be carried by the wind over long distances, allowing for the colonization of new areas. Additionally, the rhizomes can send out new shoots from their nodes, enabling the grass to expand locally and form dense clumps.

Without proper control, Pampas grass can become invasive and outcompete native vegetation, especially in areas where it is well-suited to the climate and growing conditions. To prevent uncontrolled spread, it is important to regularly remove seed heads before they can release seeds and to implement measures to manage the expansion of rhizomes.

If you are considering planting Pampas grass, it is crucial to assess the suitability of your location and to implement appropriate management practices to prevent its spread beyond desired boundaries. Local regulations and guidelines should also be followed to ensure responsible cultivation and control of Pampas grass.

Can You Grow Pampas Grass In Pots

Yes, it is possible to grow Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) in pots. While Pampas grass is known for its large size and spreading nature, growing it in containers allows for better control of its growth and makes it suitable for smaller spaces or areas where containment is desired.

  1. Select a Suitable Pot: Choose a large and sturdy pot with good drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Pampas grass has extensive root systems, so a deep pot is recommended to accommodate its growth.
  2. Use Well-Draining Soil: Fill the pot with a well-draining soil mix. You can create a mix by combining equal parts of potting soil, perlite, and sand.
  3. Position in Full Sun: Place the pot in a location that receives full sun exposure for at least six hours a day. Pampas grass thrives in sunlight and requires it to grow and develop properly.
  4. Watering: Water the Pampas grass in pots deeply and thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry. During the winter months, reduce watering frequency as the plant goes into dormancy.
  5. Fertilization: Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in spring to provide necessary nutrients. Follow the package instructions for the appropriate amount and frequency.
  6. Pruning and Maintenance: Regularly remove any dead or damaged foliage from the plant to maintain its appearance and health. In early spring, before new growth emerges, you can trim back the Pampas grass to promote fresh growth and control its size.

It’s important to note that Pampas grass grown in pots may have a slightly smaller size compared to those planted directly in the ground. Additionally, consider the ultimate size of the Pampas grass cultivar you choose and make sure the pot can accommodate its mature dimensions.

Is pampas grass invasive

Yes, certain varieties of Pampas grass, particularly Cortaderia selloana, can be invasive in certain regions. Pampas grass is considered invasive in some areas due to its ability to spread aggressively and outcompete native vegetation. Its extensive root system and prolific seed production contribute to its invasive potential.

In regions where Pampas grass is invasive, it can negatively impact native ecosystems by displacing native plant species, altering habitat conditions, and reducing biodiversity. It can also pose a fire hazard, as the dry, accumulated foliage can easily ignite and spread fire.

To mitigate the invasive potential of Pampas grass, it is important to consider planting non-invasive alternatives or select sterile cultivars that do not produce viable seeds. Additionally, proper management techniques, such as regular removal of seed heads and rhizome control, are crucial to preventing its spread and maintaining its growth within desired boundaries.

It is advisable to check with local authorities or consult invasive species lists for your specific region to determine if Pampas grass is considered invasive in your area and to take appropriate measures for responsible cultivation and control.

See: Invasive to Avoid (CDFW)

Does pampas grass die

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is a perennial grass, meaning it can live for several years under suitable growing conditions. However, there are factors that can contribute to the decline or death of Pampas grass plants.

  1. Extreme Cold: Pampas grass is generally hardy in USDA growing zones 7-11, but severe and prolonged cold temperatures can damage or kill the plant. Freezing temperatures for extended periods can harm the foliage and root system, leading to plant decline or death.
  2. Poor Drainage: Pampas grass prefers well-draining soil. If the soil is poorly drained and becomes waterlogged, it can cause root rot and eventually lead to the death of the plant.
  3. Drought Stress: While Pampas grass is known for its drought tolerance, prolonged periods of severe drought without sufficient water can cause stress and weaken the plant. In extreme cases, it may lead to plant death.

By providing appropriate growing conditions, including well-draining soil, proper watering, and regular maintenance, you can help ensure the health and longevity of Pampas grass.

FAQs How to Grow Pampas Grass

How fast does pampas grass grow in a year?

Pampas grass is known for its rapid growth rate. Under ideal growing conditions, it can grow up to 6 to 10 feet in height in a single year. This fast growth makes it a popular choice for creating dramatic and eye-catching landscapes. However, it’s important to note that the growth rate can vary depending on various factors such as climate, soil fertility, and maintenance practices. Regular pruning and providing adequate space for the plant to grow are essential to maintain its desired size and shape.

When To Plant Pampas Grass?

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is best planted in the spring or early summer when the soil has warmed up and the risk of frost has passed. This timing allows the plant to establish its roots and take advantage of the warm growing season. Planting in the spring gives the pampas grass ample time to settle into the soil and develop a strong root system before the colder months arrive. Ensure that the soil is well-prepared and the planting area is free from any weeds or competing vegetation. By choosing the appropriate time to plant, you can give your pampas grass the best opportunity to thrive and grow successfully.

Read MORE: When to Plant Pampas Grass

How long can pampas grass live?

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is a long-lived perennial plant that can live for many years with proper care and maintenance. On average, pampas grass has a lifespan of around 10 to 15 years, but it can live even longer in favorable conditions. The longevity of pampas grass depends on various factors such as climate, soil quality, and cultural practices. With adequate sunlight, well-draining soil, regular watering, and occasional pruning to remove dead foliage, pampas grass can continue to thrive and beautify the landscape for many years.


Growing pampas grass is an opportunity to embrace the elegance and grace of nature in your landscape. By delving into the allure of pampas grass, learning the art of nurturing it from seed, providing essential care, and discovering the magic of harvesting its plumes, you can create a garden that exudes beauty and sophistication. Remember to select the perfect seeds, create an optimal growing environment, and maintain regular care to ensure the health and vibrancy of your pampas grass.

The journey culminates in the enchantment of harvesting and preserving its stunning plumes, allowing you to infuse your space with the everlasting charm of pampas grass. So, let your imagination soar as you unlock the secrets of growing pampas grass, and may your landscape be transformed into a captivating haven of elegance and tranquility.

Rachel Lean
Rachel Lean

Adventurer, loving nature and plants, particularly Pampas Grass. Happy to share with other people the knowledge that I accumulated on the journey of my life.