Choosing the best grass for your garden and needs can be a daunting experience as you have to consider the factors in planting it. So, the million-dollar question is, “What is the easiest ornamental grass to grow?”
The most straightforward decorative grass to cultivate in your garden and yard is the magnificent perennial plant known by its scientific name Miscanthus Sinensis, also referred to as Morning Light. These grasses demand little care, and you can encourage magnificent growth and maturation without using fertilizers.
Maiden grass is a type of tall ornamental grass that is found in many parts of the world. It is a tall, green plant that can grow up to 6 feet in height. The leaves are long, narrow and pointed at one end. The flowers are small and white-pink in color and they have a long tube-like structure with three petals.
|Common Name||Morning Light Maiden Grass|
|Scientific Name||Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’|
|Height & Spread||4-6 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun to partial shade|
|USDA Growing Zones||5-9|
|Water||Medium moisture, well-drained soil|
|Pests & Diseases||Generally pest and disease free|
|Soil Type||Tolerates a wide range of soil types, but prefers well-drained soil|
|Soil pH||Prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 5.5-7.5)|
|Bloom Time||Late summer to early fall|
|Flower Color||Silvery-pink plumes|
What are Ornamental Grasses?
Ornamental grasses are a group of grasses that are grown for their aesthetic appeal rather than their practical uses, such as for grazing livestock or producing grains. They are known for their versatility and can be used in a variety of garden settings, from borders and containers to mass plantings and naturalistic landscapes. Ornamental grasses come in a wide range of sizes, colors, textures, and forms, and can provide year-round interest with their attractive foliage, graceful movement, and sometimes showy flowers or seed heads. They are relatively low maintenance and can be used in a variety of garden styles, from formal to informal, contemporary to traditional.
Types of Ornamental Grass and Which Species Are Easiest to Grow
There are many types of ornamental grasses that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Some species are easier to grow and maintain than others. Here are some popular types of ornamental grasses and their characteristics:
- Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora): This is a cool-season grass that is easy to grow in full sun or partial shade. It is drought-tolerant and produces tall, showy plumes in early summer.
- Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides): This warm-season grass is known for its graceful, arching stems and fluffy seed heads. It is adaptable to many soil types and grows well in full sun.
- Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca): This cool-season grass has striking blue-gray foliage that adds color and texture to garden borders. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun.
- Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra): This shade-loving grass has a mounding habit and produces delicate, cascading foliage in shades of green and gold. It prefers moist soil and partial shade.
- Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum): This warm-season grass is drought-tolerant and produces tall, airy plumes in late summer. It is adaptable to many soil types and grows well in full sun.
In general, cool-season grasses are easier to grow in cooler climates, while warm-season grasses are better suited to hotter climates. When selecting ornamental grasses, it is important to consider their growth habits, light and water requirements, and overall size. With proper care and maintenance, ornamental grasses can add beauty and texture to any garden or landscape.
How to Plant Ornamental Grasses in Your Home Landscape
Ornamental grasses are versatile plants that can add texture, color, and movement to your home landscape. They can be used as focal points, borders, groundcovers, or even as privacy screens. If you’re interested in planting ornamental grasses in your landscape, here are some steps to get you started:
- Choose the right location: Most ornamental grasses prefer full sun and well-drained soil, although some varieties can tolerate partial shade. Make sure to select a location with enough space for the mature size of your chosen grass, and consider how it will complement the other plants and features in your landscape.
- Prepare the soil: Before planting, loosen the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches and amend with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. Ornamental grasses prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0-7.0.
- Planting: Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of your grass, and place the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Fill in around the plant with soil and gently firm the soil around the roots. Water thoroughly.
- Maintenance: Ornamental grasses are relatively low-maintenance, but there are a few things you can do to keep them looking their best. Water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep roots, and fertilize with a balanced slow-release fertilizer in the spring. Cut back dead or damaged foliage in the spring before new growth emerges.
- Division: Over time, ornamental grasses can become crowded and may need to be divided. Divide your grass in the spring or fall by digging up the entire plant, dividing it into smaller clumps, and replanting.
With their easy care and stunning beauty, ornamental grasses can be a valuable addition to any home landscape. Give them a try and enjoy their year-round interest!
Growing Maiden Grass ‘Morning Light’
If you want to grow a morning light maiden grass properly, you have to consider the following factors:
- Sunlight: These grasses are best in full sun and can tolerate partial sun. They are intolerant of shade though it will persist in sparsely forested areas and small openings.
- Soil: They can grow on any variety of soils. You can also mix the soil from clay, sand, loam, and chalk. However, they are best in a moist and well-drained environment if you want to reach their maximum growth potential in 2 years.
- Growth: They can grow at a maximum of 6 feet tall; their mature spread is 3 feet to 4 feet wide.
- Water: The Morning Light Maiden Grass needs constant watering weekly and daily during the hot season.
- Plum Season: These amazing grasses can bloom during Late summer or Early fall.
Advantages of growing Miscanthus Sinensis
- They attract birds and can bear reddish and pink-silver plumes during late summer, early to late winter, and fall seasons. These plumes will turn grey to tan to provide seed for birds and other wildlife.
- These grasses can grow new foliage every year and the process of dividing them is very easy. You can use a root shovel with grated edges to dig the bottom of the grass but be careful not to cut the roots. Trimming them down is also easy. You just need a hedge trimmer and trim them based on your desired size or design.
- Since they have a good nutrient cycle according to the scientists, they can even grow in stressful environments and have the ability to propagate easily.
The disadvantage of growing Miscanthus Sinensis
- These grasses are extremely flammable and can increase the fire risks of invaded areas, so be careful during the summer season and in forest fire-prone areas.
Uses of Morning Light Maiden Grass
- Privacy/Border Plant
- Dried Flower
- Mass Planting
- Specimen or Focal Point
Morning Light Maiden Grass, also known as Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’, is a popular ornamental grass due to its easy-to-grow nature and stunning visual appeal. This grass boasts fine, arching foliage with a silver midrib that glistens in the sunlight, making it an excellent choice for adding texture and contrast to any landscape. It requires minimal maintenance and is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, making it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced gardeners alike. With its striking appearance and easy-care nature, Morning Light Maiden Grass is undoubtedly one of the easiest and most rewarding ornamental grasses to grow.