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Mexican Feather Grass
Nassella or Stipa tenuissima
Mexican feather grass (Nassella or Stipa tenuissima) brims with grace. The slightest wind sends the delicate flower heads and thin leaves of this perennial grass into motion. Native to North American drylands, Mexican feather grass thrives in quick-draining, lean soil and tolerates drought with ease. It reseeds to naturalize in meadows or on slopes for erosion control. Pair it with flowering perennials or succulents.
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Suits Dry Landscapes
Mexican feather grass is native to west Texas, New Mexico, and portions of Mexico. Its graceful mounding habit and fine-texture, semi-evergreen foliage is a welcome addition to dry landscapes. Mexican feather grass reseeds with gusto in some areas and has been identified as invasive in some states—including California—where it is not recommended for planting. Check with your state extension service before planting Mexican feather grass.
Who says dry landscapes look like multiple shades of taupe? Pair Mexican feather grass with other perennials that thrive in dry conditions for a low-maintenance color- and texture-rich landscape that is an oasis for wildlife. Great plants for dry landscapes include sedum, which stores water in its succulent leaves while its flowers provide color for weeks in late summer and fall. Black-eyed Susan, a pollinator favorite, boasts bright yellow flowers. Coreopsis begins blooming in early summer and continues until the first frost.
You can also call on Mexican feather grass when planting containers for hot, dry locations. This tough grass adds graceful movement and long-lasting texture to potted gardens from planting in early spring until frost. Pair it with low-water annuals, such as lantana, moss rose, and strawflower.
Mexican Feather Grass Care Must-Knows
This ornamental grass grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Water plants weekly during the first growing season after planting. Moving forward, you'll need to water this perennial only during extreme dry periods. Cut back or rake out dead foliage in early spring before the plant begins growing.
Divide Mexican feather grass plants in early spring, right after they begin to send up new green shoots. Dig up the entire clump, then use a sharp spade to cut the clump into three or four sections. Replant each section, watering it well after planting.