Winter Care for Dwarf Pampas Grass: Protecting Your Beautiful Ornamental Grass

Winter Dwarf Pampas Grass
Winter Dwarf Pampas Grass

Dwarf pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’) is a stunning ornamental grass that adds elegance and texture to gardens and landscapes. While it is hardy in many regions, providing proper care during winter is essential to ensure its survival and maintain its beauty. In this article, we will explore effective strategies to protect your dwarf pampas grass during the colder months, ensuring its health and vitality for the upcoming growing season.

Understanding Dwarf Pampas Grass and Winter Vulnerabilities

Before we delve into protective measures, it’s crucial to understand the characteristics and vulnerabilities of dwarf pampas grass during winter. This compact cultivar is more tolerant of cold weather compared to its larger counterpart, but it still requires some attention. Dwarf pampas grass can experience damage or even die back if exposed to harsh winter conditions, such as freezing temperatures, snow accumulation, or strong winds. Therefore, taking proactive steps to shield it from these elements is vital.

Applying a Layer of Mulch

One of the most effective ways to protect dwarf pampas grass during winter is by applying a layer of mulch around its base. This insulating layer acts as a buffer, reducing temperature fluctuations and preventing frost damage. Begin by cutting back the grass’s foliage to a height of 6 to 8 inches in late fall. Next, surround the base of the plant with a thick layer of organic mulch, such as straw, shredded leaves, or wood chips. Aim for a depth of 4 to 6 inches, ensuring the entire crown is covered. Mulch also helps retain moisture, which can be beneficial in regions with dry winters.

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Creating a Protective Barrier

In areas with heavy snowfall or strong winds, it’s essential to create a physical barrier around your dwarf pampas grass. Start by tying the foliage together gently using twine or bungee cords. This bundling helps prevent the grass from splaying out and reduces the risk of snow or ice weighing it down and causing breakage. Once the foliage is secured, wrap a breathable material, such as burlap or frost cloth, around the entire plant. This protective barrier shields the grass from the elements while allowing air circulation to prevent excessive moisture buildup.

Trimming and Pruning

Before winter sets in, it’s crucial to prepare your dwarf pampas grass by trimming and pruning it appropriately. Cut back any dead or damaged foliage to the ground, using clean and sharp pruning shears. This step helps eliminate potential entry points for diseases and pests, while also promoting healthy regrowth in the spring. Additionally, removing excess foliage reduces the risk of snow or ice accumulation, which can lead to bending or breaking of the grass blades.

Snow Removal

In regions where heavy snowfall occurs, it’s essential to monitor your dwarf pampas grass and promptly remove accumulated snow. Use a gentle sweeping motion with a broom or brush to carefully brush off the snow from the grass blades. This prevents the weight of the snow from bending or snapping the delicate foliage. Avoid using heavy or sharp tools that may damage the grass.

Providing Adequate Drainage

While protecting your dwarf pampas grass from freezing temperatures is crucial, it’s equally important to ensure proper drainage. Excess moisture around the plant’s roots can lead to rot or fungal issues. Avoid overwatering the grass during winter, and make sure the planting area has adequate drainage. If the grass is in a container, ensure there are drainage holes and elevate it slightly to prevent water from pooling around the roots.

Monitoring and Maintenance

Throughout the winter season, it’s essential to monitor your dwarf pampas grass regularly. Check for any signs of damage, disease, or pest infestation. Remove any debris or fallen leaves that may accumulate around the base of the grass, as these can harbor pests or encourage rot. During milder winter spells, consider providing light irrigation if the soil becomes overly dry.


Does pampas grass die in winter?

Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana) is generally hardy and can withstand winter conditions in many regions. However, its foliage may die back or turn brown during the colder months. This is a natural response to the lower temperatures and doesn’t necessarily mean that the plant is dead. In fact, the roots of Pampas Grass remain alive and dormant underground during winter. In spring, new growth emerges from the base, and the plant regains its lush appearance. It’s important to note that severe winter conditions, such as extremely low temperatures or prolonged frost, can potentially damage or kill Pampas Grass. Providing proper winter protection, such as cutting back the foliage and applying mulch, can help improve its chances of surviving and thriving in colder climates.

Will ornamental grasses survive winter in pots?

Ornamental grasses can survive winter in pots with proper care and protection. Choosing hardy grass species, insulating the pots with materials like burlap or bubble wrap, and moving them to sheltered areas can help protect the grasses from freezing temperatures. It’s important to monitor soil moisture, avoiding both waterlogging and dryness, and apply mulch around the base of the grass to insulate the roots. Considering the microclimate of the garden or patio and placing the pots in locations with adequate sunlight and natural protection can further enhance their chances of survival. While there may be slightly higher risks compared to ground-planted grasses, providing appropriate winter care increases the likelihood of ornamental grasses thriving in pots.

How do I protect my pampas grass?

To protect your Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana), follow these tips: In colder regions, cut back the foliage before winter and provide a layer of mulch to insulate the roots. Plant it in a sheltered location to avoid wind damage, and water appropriately during dry spells. Monitor for pests and diseases, and take necessary measures for control. Regularly prune and maintain the grass by removing dead foliage and dividing overcrowded clumps. By implementing these protective measures, you can ensure the health and longevity of your Pampas Grass.


By implementing these protective measures, you can safeguard your beloved dwarf pampas grass during the winter months, ensuring its health and vigor for the next growing season. Remember to apply a layer of mulch, create a protective barrier, trim and prune appropriately, remove accumulated snow, provide proper drainage, and monitor the grass’s condition. With these strategies in place, you can enjoy the beauty and resilience of your dwarf pampas grass year after year, even in the face of winter’s challenges.

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.