If you need a large grass that makes a big statement for a large landscape, look for pampas grass. It stands at a staggering 8- to 12-feet tall. With showy flowers opening in August and lasting through February, pampas grass is a valuable member of the winter landscape. Plant it in landscape beds, or use it as a living screen.
In states such as California and Hawaii, pampas grass is identified as an invasive plant and is not recommended because it self-seeds and spreads to form dense colonies. Check the planting regulations regarding pampas grass before planting it in your area.
Pampas Grass in the Landscape
Pampas grass is a hard-working landscape plant. Use it to create a living screen or a border backdrop by planting three to five plants together. Pampas grass is good for erosion control and stabilizing stream banks. Or plant it in landscape beds as a focal point plant. It offers multiple seasons of interest as its white plumes develop and then age to a tawny brown. Pampas grass can also be grown in containers. In Zones 6 and below grow pampas grass in large containers and overwinter it in a greenhouse or heated garage.
Pampas Grass Must-Knows
Pampas grass grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. It will tolerate light shade, but dense shade will cause it to become floppy. Once established pampas grass is drought tolerant and deer resistant. It has few pest problems and tolerates salt spray, making it an ideal plant for coastal landscapes.
Prune pampas grass in late winter to remove the previous year's foliage and make way for new growth. Power hedge shears are often the best tool for pruning the plant's dense growth at ground level. Pampas grass has sharp blades, so wear a long-sleeve shirt and jeans or slacks to protect your skin.
The flowers of pampas grass are prized for dried floral arrangements. Harvesting and drying your own flowers is simple. Cut the flowers as soon as they fully emerge but before they are mature and shedding. Let the stems dry in a cool, dark place. After the stems are dry, spray them with a light coat of hairspray to prevent shedding.
More Varieties of Pampas Grass
Dwarf pampas grass
Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila,' also know as 'Ivory Feathers,' is a dwarf variation of pampas grass that grows 3- to 5-feet tall and 4- to 6-feet wide. It has long stalks of dramatic, creamy white plumes held above green foliage. This smaller form is well-suited for small landscapes. Zones 7–11
Plant Pampas Grass With:
Joe Pye weed is a showstopper of a prairie native, producing huge, puffy flower heads in late summer. It prefers moist soils, but with its extensive root system, it also tolerates drought well. It is a large plant, growing 4 to 6 feet tall.Closely related, hardy ageratum is a spreading plant that grows to only 2 feet tall. Another relative, white snakeroot, reaches 4 to 5 feet tall. All are great for naturalistic or cottage plantings and for attracting butterflies.
With its tall wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers and silvery foliage, Russian sage is an important player in summer and fall gardens. It shows off well against most flowers and provides an elegant look to flower borders. The aromatic leaves are oblong, deeply cut along the edges. Foot-long panicles of flowers bloom for many weeks. Excellent drainage and full sun are ideal, although very light shade is tolerated. Plant close to avoid staking since the tall plants tend to flop.
It's time to debunk a garden myth: Goldenrod does not aggravate allergies! The pollen is too heavy to fly in the wind and instead sticks to the legs of the insects and butterflies that feed on its nectar.It's one of the most glorious flowers of late summer and early autumn, with the wild type blanketing ditches and other open, moist sunny places. In your own garden, choose the hybridized types that are shorter, longer-blooming, and don't spread out of control. Divide or take cuttings of these to increase your supply; seed will not come true.