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Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' - Maiden Grass

Plant Type: Grasses

This is one of the finest-textured Maiden Grass cultivars. The base of the long, flexible leaves stand mostly erect, but the tips droop under their own weight forming a fountain-like sculpture in the landscape. Slender leaves originate in a clump, spreading out and up like a fountain.

The 5 to 6-foot-tall clumps bear pink flowers in late summer and fall which can be used for drying or as a dye plant. Their pinkish or silvery 8 to 10 inch long plumes persist into the winter. Foliage is flexible and blows easily in the wind. This shrub-like grass turns to a rich gold or orange in the south in the fall; fall color in northern landscapes appears more as a tannish-brown. Retains fall color through winter.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils from well-drained sandy soils to the heavy clays. Prefers moist soils. Best in full sun. Less vigorous with decreased flowering and tendency to flop in too much shade. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. Clumps slowly expand in circumference by short rhizomes, but retain tight clump shape. Foliage should be left standing throughout the winter for visual interest and to provide protection for the crowns. Substantial clumps tend to flop (or totally collapse when subjected to heavy winter snows), and will often benefit from some support. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter just before new shoots appear

Growing & Maintenance Tips:


Noteworthy Characteristics

Maiden grass is noted for its narrow green leaves with a silver midrib which form a substantial, rounded, arching clump of foliage typically growing 4-6' tall (to 8' when in flower). Foliage turns yellowish after frost, but quickly fades to straw-beige by winter. Tiny reddish-copper flowers appear in tassel-like inflorescences above the foliage in late September, gradually turning into silvery white plumes as the seeds mature. Blooms later than most Miscanthus cultivars. Flower plumes persist well into winter providing good winter interest. 'Gracillimus' is an old and very popular cultivar.
Problems

No frequently occurring insect or disease problems. In some areas of the U.S., miscanthus mealybug and miscanthus blight are becoming significant problems. Miscanthus mealybug causes stunted growth and is difficult to eradicate because it lives inside the stems. Miscanthus blight is a fungal disease which attacks the blades and sheaths. Mature clumps of 'Gracillimus' (3-4 years +) produce substantial foliage which sometimes needs support.
Garden Uses

Versatile ornamental grass, but clumps need lots of room. Accent, specimen, grouping, mass or screen. Borders, meadows, wild gardens, cottage gardens, naturalized areas or pond/water garden peripheries.

Flower Color

Copper maturing to silver

Foliage Color

Plant Spread

3-6 ft.

Good Companions

Other grasses and sun loving perennials

Plant Height

4-7 ft.

Scape Height

Hardness Zone

4

Soil Moisture

Medium water needs

Characteristics & Attributes


Attributes

Has showy flowers, Cut flower or foliage, Dried flower, Good fall color, Colorful leaves

Bloom Time

September

Critter Resistance

deer, rabbits

Exposure

Full sun

Growth Rate

slow in spring, but fast during summer

Seasonal Interests

Winter interest