Miscanthus - Growing Guide

Growing Miscanthus

The Miscanthus which we offer are deciduous, clump forming, perennial grasses originally from SE Asia where they grow in meadows and marshlands. They are perfectly hardy and have reed-like stems with arching terminal panicles of silky or hairy spikelets from midsummer through to autumn.

These plants can have a decent impact when freestanding but are normally incorporated into a shrub or herbaceous border. They do well as a screen between two separate areas of the garden and reflect well in water when grown near it.

Apart from avoiding winter waterlogging these grasses will grow more or less anywhere in full sun. The flower stems may be cut for drying or the dry stems can be cut and used in flower arrangements over winter. In spring clumps should all be cut back to ground level to make way for the next season’s growth. During the cutback you may want to lift and divide the odd clump to multiply the number of plants available for growing elsewhere.

M. sacchariflorus, Silver banner grass, has blue-green leaves with pale silver midribs. When fully grown this species can grow to 5ft or so. The ‘flowers’ are in fan-shaped panicles about 15in long.

M. sinensis ‘Cabaret’ grows to around 6ft and has broad mid-green leaves with conspicuous white stripes.

M. sinensis ‘Gracillimus’, Maiden grass, has very narrow recurved leaves with white midribs. The leaves become bronzed in autumn. This popular variety grows to around 4ft.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' click for larger image
Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'

M. sinensis ‘Morning Light’ is very similar in appearance and overall height to ‘Gracillimus’ but its narrow white leaf margins give it a silvery effect.

M. sinensis ‘Zebrinus’, the Zebra grass, grows as a thick clump to around 4ft. The stalks are upright and arching with white or pale yellow horizontal bands on the leaves. Grows to 4ft.

The abiding attraction of these sorts of grasses is to see them gently moving in the breeze with their flower heads and stalks swishing this way and that.


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