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How to Grow Miscanthus Plants

Guide to Growing Silver Grass, Eulalia, Maiden Grass, Silver Banner Grass, Zebra Grass, and Elephant grass.

Miscanthus is a genus of hardy perennial ornamental grasses that reach from 90 cm to 2.7 m in height.

Miscanthus are upright grasses that have flat leaves and silky inflorescences.

The inflorescences appear towards the end of summer and in autumn.

Miscanthus Japanese Silver Grass Picture

Miscanthus porcupine grass

Some of the common names for Miscanthus include Zebra grass, Japanese silver grass, Porcupine grass, Maiden Grass, Eulalia and Amur Silver grass.



Quick Miscanthus Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Silver Grass: Amur; Japanese; Nepal. Eulalia, Maiden Grass, Silver Banner Grass, Zebra Grass, Elephant grass.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
  • Height: 36 to 108 inches (90 to 270 cm).
  • Native: Africa. Southern and Eastern Asia.
  • Growing Region: Zones 5 to 9.
  • Flowers: Late summer through to autumn.
  • Flower Details: Silky inflorescences. Tassels.
  • Foliage: Lance-shaped. Flat.
  • Sow Outside: Surface. Following the last frost. Germination time: two weeks to two months. Temperature: 60 to 75°F (16 to 24°C). Spacing 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 cm). Nursery grown plants can be transplanted in spring or autumn.
  • Sow Inside: No.
  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight (for best results) or partial shade. Good drainage. Average soils. Average watering. Drought tolerant. Cut back in winter. Divide for vigour every four or five years; very strenuous; be careful of your back. Propagate: self-seeds.
  • Miscellaneous: Can become invasive, especially in Eastern USA. Used as a biofuel. Attracts birdlife to the garden. Makes a nice dried plant.

How to Grow Miscanthus

When growing Miscanthus it is best to sow the seeds outdoors. Sow them on the surface about 60 to 90 cm apart for small species; large Miscanthus varieties should be planted singularly. They typically take from two to nine weeks to germinate once the temperature reaches 15 degrees Centigrade. Silver grasses (Miscanthus) can grow in either sunny or lightly shaded areas that has good drainage. They have a preference for moist soil, but are able to tolerate dry spells.

Caring for Miscanthus Plants

When growing Miscanthus it is important to realise that they are very large plants and require a lot of physical effort to look after. As they easily spread they should be cut back to ground level in the autumn before they have chance to set seed. Miscanthus also require to be divided about every four years in the springtime order to maintain robust growth or to obtain additional plants.


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