Ornamental grasses surpass all other plants for their luminous qualities in the garden. And Japanese silver grass is one of the best. It has beautiful arching blades that are topped with silvery plumes growing 1 to 2 metres (3 to 6 feet) tall. The plant’s coarse textured, dark green leaf blades are highlighted with creamy, white stripes. From late August onward the plant produces white, pinkish or reddish coloured plumes that turn a silvery white as they dry.
Silver grass makes an excellent accent plant. They are very useful when several are grown together in a row to form an effective screen. They also make a good background for a grouping of dwarf shrubs and/or perennials. When planted near water gardens and fountains silver grass can disguise mechanical pumps or filters and gives the illusion of water reeds.
Good planting companions for this grass are Bear’s Breeches (Acanthus mollis) and Oakleaf Hydrangea. For good colour contrast the petite variety of fescue grass called Elijah Blue Fescue planted in front of silver grass is gorgeous.
As cold weather approaches the entire plant turns an attractive tawny, wheat colour that provides outstanding architectural interest in garden during the winter months.
Silver grass is deer resistant and attracts birds and butterflies.
How to Grow:
Silver grass prefers full sun. Though they tolerate partial sun, the plants are less robust and have a more delicate looking quality.
Silver grasses are hardy from zones 5 to 9. Like all grasses, silver grass enjoys heat.
No fertilizer is required.
Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. After that, little water is required. Grasses are tolerant and that is one of their appealing features.
These plants grow in a wide variety of soils. They tolerate drought well and occasional wetness, but prefer a soil that is well-drained.
Divide clumps every 2 to 3 years in the early spring.
When to Grow
Silver grass is available in containers throughout the gardening season. Typically, the best selection is found in the spring.
- ‘Morning Light’ or Variegated Maiden Grass’ has reddish flowers that emerge late and flower about 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the foliage. With great form and shape, it is one of the most popular grasses.
- ‘Graziella’ is an old favorite that forms an upright clump. It flowers pink in late July and changes to a brilliant, bright silver by October. It is an excellent choice because of its lovely fall colour and provides great structure for winter interest.
- ‘Little Kitten’ is one of the smallest silver grasses making it a perfect choice for small spaces and small gardens that don’t have room for the larger clumps. ‘Little Kitten’ grows only 38 cm (15inches) tall with flowers reaching about 76 cm (30 inches) high.
- ‘Malepartus’ has gorgeous large flower plumes that rise 1 metre (3 feet) or more above its 1 to 2 metre (5 to 6 foot) high foliage. The plumes emerge purplish/pink and mature to a silver colour. This one is a vigorous grower very good bronze fall colour.