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Pine muhly has another common name that speaks to its appearance—hairgrass. The fine blades of this ornamental grass unite to be reminiscent of a windblown casual hairdo. Native to western North America, pine muhly tolerates drought and thrives in well-drained soil. Plant this easy-to-grow perennial grass in large drifts for year-round texture and movement in the landscape. Several varieties boast colorful, airy flowers that dance over the arching foliage for weeks in late summer and fall. The white, pink, and red-tinged flowers eventually turn tawny brown and decorate the garden through winter.
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Part Sun, Sun
1 to 3 feet
2 to 3 feet wide
Planting Pine Muhly
Play off of pine muhly's light and airy appearance when choosing planting partners for this clump-forming grass. Sedums and plants with succulent foliage, such as creeping shrubby ice plant and agaves, make delightful contrasting plant partners. Pine muhly is an excellent plant for adding whimsy and soft texture to large swaths of hardscaping, such an expansive stone patio or driveway. Plant a large collection of pine muhly near the edge of a hard surface to add airy texture year-round. Pine muhly is a great plant for contemporary landscapes as it does not spread by runners and can be planted in a geometric pattern.
Pine Muhly Care
Pine muhly grows best in sandy to rocky soil that is well-drained. It thrives in full sun but will tolerate part shade, although it does not grow as tall in part shade. Pine muhly tolerates heat, humidity, and drought. A great plant for rock gardens and the desert Southwest, pine muhly has excellent deer resistance and is a long-lived grass.
Plant pine muhly in spring. Like most ornamental grasses, pine muhly is most attractive when planted in large swaths of 10 or more plants. A large stand of pine muhly makes a big impact in the landscape and is a low-maintenance planting that provides interest year-round. It is especially striking in late summer and fall when the its flower spikes debut. Cut pine muhly back as needed in early spring before new growth begins.
Plant breeders have selected several forms of pine muhly that sport colorful late summer and fall flower spikes. Plant clusters of these late season flowering plants throughout the landscape for a burst of color and interest when annuals and perennials are beginning to fade.