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How to Grow Phalaris Plants

Guide to Growing Canary Grass, Ribbon Grass and Harding Grass

Phalaris grasses may be grown as ornamental plants in the garden.

Phalaris may be either hardy annuals or perennials and vary in height from 45 to 90 cm.

They carry grass like flowers in the summer, and have somewhat attractive striped green and white leaves.

Some common names for Phalaris plants include Ribbon Grass, Canary grass, and Gardener's Garters.

Phalaris arundinacea

Reed Canary Grass
Photographs of Phalaris arundinacea / Reed Canary Grass by Matt Lavin; creative commons.

Phalaris Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Canary Grass, Harding Grass, Sunol Grass, Ribbon Grass.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual. Hardy perennial.
Height: 20 to 72 inches (50 to 180 cm).
Native: North America, Europe, Asia, North Africa.
Growing Region: Annuals: zones 3 to 10. Perennials in zones 4 to 9.
Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: Oval inflorescence. Spike like. Dense.
Foliage: Greyish-blue, green, pink tinge. Sometimes striped cream and green. Flat. Broad. Long.
Sow Outside: Cover seed. First two months of spring or in late autumn. Spacing 12 to 36 inches (30 to 90 cm). Germination time: three weeks. Temperature 60°F (16°C).
Sow Inside: No
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Moist soil. Light poor soils. Regular watering. Perennials should be cut back in spring. Propagate: dividing in the spring.
Family:
Closely Related Species:
Miscellaneous: Invasive in some areas.

How to Grow Ribbon Grass, Canary Grass (Phalaris)

It is best to sow Ribbon grass, Canary Grass and other Phalaris Plant seeds outdoors. They can be sown about 30 to 60 cm apart, either before the first frost of winter or at the start of spring. Once sown lightly cover the ribbon grass seed. For best results grow ribbon grasses in a sunny part of the garden; it is also able to grow in lightly shaded areas. Ribbon grass thrives in a rich and moist soil.

Caring for Ribbon grass and other Phalaris Plants in the Garden

Ribbon grass and other Phalaris plants are fairly easy to look after. The moister the soil the more they grow, so water regularly until they have reached the desired coverage. Perennial species of Phalaris should be cut back at the start of spring and divided very five years. If you require more plants then propagate annuals from harvested seed (or allow to self seed in situ) and perennials by division of the root stock in the springtime.