miscanthus sinensis feature reed grass

Japanese Silver Grass – Miscanthus sinensis


The grass grows easily in medium moisture, average, well-drained soil in part shade to full sun. It is tolerant of a broad range of various soils that range from well-drained sandy soil to those heavy clays that are prominent in the St. Louis area. Does the best in full sun. Prefer moist soil. When it gets too much shade it is less vigorous with reduced flowering and tends to flop around too much. Tolerant of humidity and summer heat. Clumps expand in circumference slowly by short rhizomes. However, they have a tendency to maintain a tight clumped shape. For crown protection and visual interest, the foliage should be allowed to stand throughout the winter. In later winter, right before the new shoots start to appear the foliage should be cut near to the ground. Divide the crown to propagate. The grass reseeds up to the point of it being somewhat invasive within the milder areas of its overall growing range. Much can help to prevent reseeding from occurring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

miscanthus-feater reed grass

Commonly referred to as Japanese silver grass, Chinese silver grass, or Eulalia grass, Miscanthus Sinensis is a warm-season, clump-forming grass that tends to grow 3 to 7 feet tall. It is native to the lower alpine areas and lowlands of China, Korea, and Japan. It has escaped from gardens and is naturalized in more than 25 states in the Eastern and Central U.S. states that are east of the Mississippi River along with several western States which include California and Colorado.

The grass has a dense clump of leaves and stems that arch upward and give it a fountain-like, rounded appearance. Its linear leaves (3/8-inch wide and 3 to 4 feet long) have silvery to whitish midribs, serrate margins, and tapered tips. Its foliage frequently turns attractive shades of orange to yellow by mid-fall and then fades gradually to beige-tan for the winter. Red to pink flowers in loose, whisk-like, feathery terminal panicles (8 to 10 inches long) and bloom over the foliage starting in late August and lasting to October. Gradually the flower panicles start to turn beige in the middle of the fall as the seeds begin to mature. The foliage and flower panicles both retain ornamental interest, beige color, and good arching shape throughout the winter. Their attractiveness is often enhanced with a covering of newly fallen snow.

Miscanthus Sinensis can spread fairly invasively throughout the landscape, especially in some of its growing range’s milder areas. Often it will spread initially into disturbed sites like woodland margins, railroad right-of-ways, and roadsides. The species has significant invasive potential but is not as much of a concern for many ornamental cultivars, with some of them being sterile.

Its Genus name is direct from the Greek words of miskos, which means stem, and anthos, which means flower, which refers to its stalked spikelets.

The grass was formerly part of the Eulalia genus but was reclassified subsequently to the Miscanthus genus with many gardeners still calling it by one its of its common names of Eulalia grass.

bamboo Eulalia grass

‘Gracillimus’, which is also called maiden grass, is well-known for its green narrow leaves that have a silver midrib that forms an arching, rounded, and a substantial clump of foliage that tends to grow 4 to 6 feet tall (and up to 8 feet tall when it is in flower). After a frost, the foliage turns yellow but fades to straw-beige quickly by the winter. In late September, reddish-copper tiny flowers appear in tassel-shaped inflorescences over the foliage, which turns gradually into white silvery plumes as the seeds start to mature. It blooms at a later time than a majority of Miscanthus cultivar. Good winter interest is provided since the flower plumes continue to persist deep into the winter. Gracillimus’ is a very popular and old cultivar.


There are no frequently occurring disease or insect problems. In certain parts of the United States, miscanthus blight and miscanthus mealybug are starting to become major problems. Stunted growth is caused by Miscanthus mealybug and it is hard to eradicate since it lives inside of the stems of the grass. Miscanthus blight is a type of fungal disease that attacks the sheaths and blades. Leaf rust can occur as well.

Mature ‘Gracillimus’ clumps (3 to 5 years or older) produce substantial foliage that may need support at times.

Uses in the Garden

Versatile type of ornamental grass. Small grouping, specimen, or accent. Naturalized areas, cottage gardens, wild gardens, meadows, borders, or water/pond peripheries of gardens. Dried flowers are long-lasting.

Type: Ornamental grass
Common Name: Eulalia
Family: Poaceae
Spread: 3 to 6 feet
Height: 4 to 7 feet
Zone: 5 to 9
Bloom Description: Copper maturing through to silver
Bloom Time: August through February
Sun: Part shade to full sun
Maintenance: Low
Water: Medium
Leaf: Good Fall, Colourful
Flower: Showy, Good Dried, Good Cut
Other: Winter Interest
Attracts: Birds
Tolerate: Dry Soil, Erosion, Drought, Air Pollution, Black Walnut

ornamental grasses blowing in the wind

Ornamental Grasses Gardening Tips

These grasses have been increasingly finding their way into backyard gardens due to their elegant but simple maintenance requirements.

Their understated colours and charming shapes are highly appealing to gardeners.

baden grass garden waterfall

Suggestive names, like turkey foot, cloud grass, bottlebrush and foxtail are inspired by their inflorescences – their subtle flower plumes and tassels.

While most grasses are either categorized as spreading or clump forming, various types may grow to past-your-head or ankle heights. Known to perfectly fit flowerbeds, clump-forming grasses keep a compact shape. On the other hand, a lot of care should be taken, or containers used, when it comes to choosing clump forming varieties as they are known to be quite invasive in nature, with some imported varieties threatening native varieties when allowed to grow uncontrollably in the wild.

Since they usually do not require the use of fertilizers and chemicals, do well with minimal rainfall and a lot of sunshine, grasses are a great choice for environmentally friendly gardeners. Butterflies and birds are also attracted to native grasses, as they enjoy eating them.

Offering a wide range of colours, and appearance, these grasses really thrive during the summer season. Their outline shows against the snow, as they stand up well to harsh winter weather, when left to grow until spring without trimming.

Tips For Growing Ornamental Grasses

  • Grasses should be planted in clumps of at least 3 – 4 plants, to enhance their effect.
  • For each plant, dig a hole that is about twice or thrice the size of the root clump. Place the plants in the holes, positioning the crown just above the ground to keep it from being waterlogged, after turning out of the pot and separating the roots.
  • Wait until early spring to dig up clumps that have grown too big or whose centre has started to die back; leave a generous amount of soil along the edges of the clumps. Pry apart the root ball using a pair of garden forks and then replant them immediately after .
  • Cut these plants back during spring right before the sprouting of new growths. Grasses over a metre in height should be trimmed down to about 10cm while those below a metre should be trimmed down to around 5cm.

Design Tips

With a natural planting style that is changing long held border composition notions, Piet Oudolf is a world renowned Dutch garden designer. The designer recently worked along side Martin Wade, a renowned landscape architect, known for the Arrival Courtyard and Entry Garden Walk design at the Toronto Botanical Garden as he seeks to spread his new ideas in public gardens across North America.

The careful selection of plants and their placement is essential to the success of naturalistic gardens which are known to be spontaneous and deceptively wild. When it comes to creating rhythm, excitement, and harmony, grasses are considered to be important elements by Oudolf.

Here is a list of tips when using grasses in a design:

  • Combine grasses with some of their natural counterparts: Astrantia (Masterworts), Echinacea (Coneflowers), Sanguisorba (burnets), Monarda didyma (Bee balm) and other meadow flowers and prairie plants are great examples of non-invasive, long-lived and hardy perennials you can consider.
  • Since grasses can help bring together discordant hues, experimenting with form and texture should be prioritized over the creation of artistic combinations of colour. The soft airy clouds of Deschampsia cespitosa may be contrasted with the rounded Echinops (globe thistle) flower heads in a typical naturalistic combination.
  • You can induce different moods using grasses: You can create a powerful effect by planting grass in uniform blocks, or create a calming effect by repeating the same type of grass. You can also evoke a nostalgic mood by creating a countryside feel by planting grasses in loose drifts.
  • Late season perennials that are known to be jewel toned, such as joe-pye weed, various asters, and sedums blend well with the burnished strands of grasses during fall. Furthermore, Miscanthus, Deschampsia and Calamagrotis grasses are known to shine through the frost during winter.

6 Ornamental Grasses ideal for Canadian Climates

bamboo gardening

Selecting Bamboo Garden Variations

There are a number of different factors that are involved in choosing bamboo plants that can best suit your location and needs.


Doing a bit of planning in advance can help to ensure that you plant the best bamboo for your individual needs.


There is an endless number of different uses for bamboo, in all of the various forms that it comes in: screens, hedges, open groves, stand-alone, striking specimen plants, accents plants inside pots on a patio or deck, ground covers, low variegated borders, an interesting entryway, or a tunnel.

However, the most popular way that bamboo is used by far is for evergreen hedges and fast-growing privacy screens. Since bamboo is among the fastest-growing plants in the world, bamboo hedges and screens can be made more inexpensively and quickly than other trees or plants. Nearly any species may be used to create effective screening since it will grow to whatever height you want in the space you are able to allow for it, and given the fact that it is matched properly to your growing conditions and climate.

Desired Appearance

Selection all comes down to purpose and personal taste. There is an incredible variety of different bamboos to choose from. There are canes that have small or large diameters, stripes, colores, canes that are hidden by foliage, exposed canes. Keep in mind that leaves can be variegated and striped, white or yellow with green, thin and long, wide and large, or delicate and very small. Their growth habit might be airy or dense, arching at the top, weeping, wide and bushy, or narrow and vertical.

Remember that the young plants you buy may not show variegation and colors or any other special traits immediately. Those features start becoming more prominent after one or two years. Also, some features might only appear in certain conditions. For example, purple and red culms of some species only come out when direct sunlight hits the actual canes on a consistent basis.


Cold-hardiness This is the lowest temperature that the root system of each of the species is able to tolerate for 2-3 nights at once. Generally, the cold-hardiness rating represents the root death threshold. Temperatures that are near this rating might kill the tops or entire canes, which will cause them to turn a beige colour. Dead canes won’t produce new leaves. However, if the roots are able to survive, new shoots (or young culms) will be produced by the bamboo when shooting season starts.

The best thing to do is choose bamboos that can tolerate temperatures that are well under the lowest temperatures that the area has experienced over the past 10 years in order to ensure the long-term health of the plants. Temperatures that are somewhat less cold might only cause loss of leaves and leaf burn. If the canes do not get damaged, then new leaves will start budding out again after the weather starts to warm up. Placing a really deep mulch on top of the bamboo during the fall can considerably expand its cold-hardiness.

There are some bamboos that suffer from heat in the summer instead of the cold and are not able to tolerate daytime temperature that exceeds 100 degrees F and hotter on a regular basis or hot summer nights (hotter than 70 degrees F).

For example, some Chusqueas and most Fargesias don’t do very well in those conditions.

chusquea culeou dense ground cover


They are mainly mountain bamboos, which have evolved for the cold weather instead of hot temperatures.


Ideal shade tolerance and sun exposure parameters are a significant factor that you should consider when selecting bamboo. Compare the number of hours worth of direct sunlight that your bamboo plants will get, and the part of the day they are going to be in the sun. The coolest sunlight is in the morning, while afternoon sun might be hotter, and in dry, hot climates is particularly harsh.

Climbing Rhizome or Running Type

Another factor is the type of root (rhizome) of each of the bamboos. Take into consideration all of the pros and cons of runners and clumpers for your situation. For example, clumpers have a tendency to spread wide at a slower rate but tend to grow tall more quickly and do not need a root barrier to contain them. On the other hand, runners have a tendency to quickly spread wide and form screens and are also less expensive. However, they usually need containment like planter boxes or a root barrier.

Diameter and Height

The maximum diameter and height that is reached by each of the species of bamboo in their original climate should be notes as well. They are provided as “known reference points,” but the diameter and height are affected by all of the different aspects of your climate and growing situation: size of the growing area, how long the growing season is, the amount of water that is supplied, aridity/humidity, shade/sun exposure, as well as the high and low temperatures, etc.

There is a correlation between diameter and height. With a 15 foot tall plant, you won’t have a 3-4 inch diameter culm. Those diameters are achieved by species that grow 30-50 in height. Generally speaking, the culms are thinner the short the bamboo is.

bamboo forest

Interesting Bamboo Facts

Bamboo is a flowering plant, which is a member of the family Poaceae (grasses).

Bamboo species number close to 1500 that are found in Sub-Saharan Africa, North and South America, Australia, as well as Asia. Bamboo typically grows under different climate conditions and on different attitudes, but the tropical climate is what it prefers most.

Bamboo is one of the most exploited plants on Earth primarily because it does not require too much of an effort to cultivate it. Besides the low maintenance cost, bamboo has numerous applications. It can be used in the construction industry, medicine, to produce woody projects of different kinds, or even as an ingredient in many delicious meals.

bamboo forest canopy

Interesting Facts About Bamboo

  • – The size of bamboo depends on the species. Largest bamboo species can reach a height of up to 1300 feet.
  • – Bamboo grows either as a tall, woody plant or a shorter, herbaceous plant.
  • – Individual bamboo stems are referred to as culms that arise from underground rhizomes and subsequently emerge from the ground while fully developed.
  • – Bamboo flowers are hardly ever seen. Some bamboo species develop flowers after 65 or even 120 years. One interesting fact about the flowering of bamboo is that all the plants of a particular bamboo species develop flowers at the same time irrespective of their location in the world.
  • – Besides developing from rhizomes, bamboo can also develop from seeds that are arranged in clusters at the end of branches.
  • – The quickest growing plant on Earth is bamboo. It can actually grow 3 feet in height within 24 hours under the right climate conditions. It reaches maturity after only 3 to 5 years unlike other woody plants.
  • – Bamboo absorbs more carbon dioxide and releases 30 percent more oxygen into the atmosphere compared to other plants. Due to these features, bamboo contributes significantly to the reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere thus cleaning the air.
  • – Bamboo doesn’t actually require fertilizers for optimal growth. Discarded bamboo leaves provide all the necessary nutrients once they start decomposing.
  • – Bamboo has a strong and wide root system that holds the soil stable thus preventing erosion of the ground.
  • – Bamboo is regularly used in Asian cuisine. It can be consumed in the form of a soup or served as a salad.
  • – Young bamboo shoots contain taxiphyllin, which is a toxin. Due to this reason, bamboo should be cooked before consumption because high temperatures destroy the toxin.
  • – Various animals on Earth use bamboo in their diet. The diet of a panda is based exclusively on bamboo while the mountain gorillas and Madagascan lemurs consume bamboo to enrich their regular diet.
  • – Bamboo is used in folk medicine for treating infections as well as accelerating wound healing.
  • – Bamboo has stronger structure than still and is regularly used in the building industry. Besides that, bamboo is used to manufacture furniture, floors, house walls, helmets, bicycle frames, and even skateboards.
  • – In the wild bamboo can survive over 120 years.

Interested in growing your own bamboo plants? Read more …

How to Grow Black Bamboo from Seed

Black Bamboo, is one of the most popular variety people like to grow …

The Steps For Growing Black Bamboo From Seeds

The airy, green foliage and blackish-brown canes in black bamboo is something that fascinates most gardeners. When planted in a group, it gives big yards and gardens a dramatic element with its long canes and lush growth. Black bamboo grows from seed if sown when fresh and kept under moist and warm greenhouse conditions. However, it can take up to six months for the seeds to germinate and so, if you don’t notice immediate sprouting, do not fret. In this brief post, we are going to show you how to grow black bamboo from seed in the right manner.

black bamboo stalk

1. Pour seed starting compost into a huge bowl or bucket. Stir the compost by hand while drizzling small amounts of water. Keep doing this until the compost feels generously moist throughout.

2. Fill 3” square pots with the seed-starting compost and press it in order to get rid of any trapped air.

3. Next, put two black bamboo seeds on the surface of the compost and cover them with around 1/16 inch thick layer of the compost.

4. Spritz each and every pot with a spray bottle in order to settle the compost around the black bamboo seeds. You should do this until the top quarter-inch feels saturated.

5. Next, put a propagation mat near a huge window with bright and filtered light. Put the square pots on the propagation mat and ensure the temperature is set to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Moisten the compost with a water-filled spray bottle every time it feels dry on the surface and do this until the top quarter-inch feels saturated. You should never allow the seed starting compost to dry up.

7. After two weeks, you should look for the sprouting of the black bamboo, but be patient as the seeds may take up to six months to emerge. bamboo sprouts example

8. If both seeds germinate, remove one of them from each pot. You should keep the one that seems to be more vigorous and healthier of the two.

9. Move the seedlings to an environment with greenhouse conditions and bright light as well as high humidity and temperatures that are above 68 degrees.

10. Once the seedlings reach a height of 6 inches, you should transplant them in a partially shaded bed with well-drained, loamy soil.