Plume Grass - Pampas Grass (Saccharum ravennae) Northern Pampas Grass Ornamental Grass
Height 2.5-4.5 m., 9 to 14 ft
Plume grass, also known as Ornamental Grass, and Northern Pampas Grass due to its hardiness, is an architecturally striking plant that produces whip-like blades that are slightly serrated and sharp along the edges and tall stems topped with feathery inflorescences that add drama as a stand alone feature plant or grown as hedges. Clumping plant flowers 'bloom' from September to October and can persist well into the winter months; birds use these to build nests and they can also be harvested (and dyed) for use as indoor arrangements. Deer resistant.
Ornamental plume grass is a prolific self-seeding plant. Before planting it is a good idea to work in 3 to 4 in (8-10 cm.) of compost or another organic amendment. The gray-green foliage burnishes with color in fall and the pink flowers become a silvery accent in winter. Decorative plume grass requires watering to the depth of the roots every 2 weeks during the growing season. The first year it will need a regular watering schedule, which encourages a deep healthy root system. In the dormant period in winter, it can usually subsist on natural precipitation.
- Full sun
- Thrives in rich moist soils
- Start seeds indoors 4 to 5 weeks prior to last frost date; press the seeds lightly into moist soil. Seeds need light to germinate, so avoid covering them. Transplant when all risk of frost has passed. Using a shovel, dig holes that are 3 times as wide and 3 times as deep as the root system on your young seedlings to give the roots room to spread and establish themselves. Water in and continue every 2 weeks sparingly until established.
- OR direct sow outdoors onto the prepared soil - rake area lightly to prevent seeds from blowing away and don’t cover them with soil. Water in very lightly to ensure the seeds don’t wash away.
- Germination: 20 to 25 days
- Spacing at least 6 ft (1.8 m) apart
- See care and maintenance for details below
- Seed count: 10
- Fertilize the grass annually in spring with an all-purpose plant food.
- Drainage is important, as the plant will rot off at the base when grown in soggy soils.
- Winter plume grass care requires cutting back the foliage to 6 in (15 cm.) from the ground in early spring to make way for new foliage. Broken blades should be removed and a rake run through the blades will pull out the old dead foliage. Be careful and wear gloves as the plant’s leaves are sharp.
- The grass should be dug up and divided in spring or summer. A sharp root saw will make cutting through the root ball fairly easy. If you do not divide the plant, it will begin to die out in the center and affect the appearance of the ornamental plume grass.