How to Grow Melica Plants

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Melic Grass and Oniongrass

The commonest types of Melica Plants grown in the garden are Melic grass Onion grass, and Melic.

The genus itself contains many other grasses and they range from 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) in height.

Melica species usually flower in the summer with silky inflorescences.

Melica stricta
Melica stricta by Matt Lavin.

Melica Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Melic, Melic Grass, Oniongrass, Staggers Grass.
Family: Poaceae.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 4 to 40 inches (10 to 100 cm).
Native: Worldwide temperate regions.
Growing Region: Zones 5 to 10.

Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: Silver, green, purple inflorescences. Spikelets.
Foliage: Rolled. Flat.

Sow Outside: Cover seed. Germination time: three weeks at  60 to 75°F (16 to 24°C). First two months of spring. Spacing 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm). If planting purchased plants from a gardening center do so in the spring.
Sow Inside: No

Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade. Soil pH 5.0 to 7.0. Moist soil. Regular watering during dry periods. Cut back in the spring-time. Propagate: by dividing in the spring.
Miscellaneous: Corms are onion like. The name Melica comes from Latin for honey (Mel) and belong (Ica).

How to Grow Melic Grass and other Melica Plants in the Garden

It is best to sow Melic grass outdoors. Sow at a spacing of about 25 cm (10 inches) apart at the beginning of spring. Next, lightly cover the seeds.

It will take about three weeks to germinate the pearl grass seeds, once the temperature has reached about 15 to 20 degrees Centigrade (59 to 68°F).

The plant can grow in either sunny or partially shaded parts of the garden. They prefer a moist soil.

Caring for Melic Grass

Once established cut the Melica plant back in the spring-time. This will encourage vigorous thick growth.

It is important to keep the soil moist, so water regularly. If you require more Melica Plants then the plant can be divided in the spring.

Common Questions

How many members does the Melica genus have?

The Melica genus consists around 90 species, often called melic or melic grass.

Do members of Melica make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Melica grasses can make graceful additions to a garden, especially in naturalistic or prairie-style plantings, and can provide winter interest.

Which Melica species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Melica uniflora and Melica ciliata are two species commonly grown in gardens for their attractive, pendulous flowerheads.

Are members of the Melica plant genus fragrant?

Plants in the Melica genus are not typically known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Melica?

Melica prefers a sunny to lightly shaded spot, with well-drained soil. They're tolerant of a wide range of conditions, including drought once established.

Is Melica invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Melica is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Melica plants from my garden?

To remove Melica, use a garden fork or spade to dig out the plant, ensuring you remove all the roots to prevent regrowth.


The Melica genus belongs to the grass family, Poaceae. Its members are known as melic grass or onion grass, with delicate, nodding flower heads that add interest to any garden setting.

Plant Melica in a sunny to partially shaded location with well-drained soil, preferably in early spring or fall. These grasses are drought-tolerant and require little maintenance once established, making them an excellent choice for low-maintenance or xeriscape gardens.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Melica plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Arundo donax, Festuca plant, Avena plant, and Briza plants.