Sunday, October 5, 2008

Miscanthus sinensis

Another plant I've come to appreciate with time. I still don't care for all grasses, the upright ones leave me cold. Miscanthus has a more rounded form. The arching grasses are so graceful it's hard not to love them. My favorites are the variegated ones. In some lights they look silver. I have Variegatus (below) and Morning Light which has very thin leaves with three white pinstripes.

I tried to capture the multi-hued effect this grass creates. Notice how the leaves seem to go from white to silver to green depending on the amount of sunlight and shadow.

Grasses left standing over winter give the garden some interest and help to eleviate that barren, abandoned feeling of a completely sheared flower bed.

I haven't noticed any pests or disease on my miscanthus. It is fairly drought tolerant and performs poorly if over watered or over fed. Altogether a pretty carefree plant.

47 comments:

flydragon said...

Oh, I really like this one. I definitely need something in my flower beds to add some interest during the winter and this one looks like it would do the trick. How tall does this get?

tina said...

I love this grass too. You did a fantastic job of capturing the shades and hues.

Sweet Repose said...

Love the look of the grasses as the snows start to fall and their stark skeletons loom high above the withered petals.

Don't get me wrong here, it sounds like I might enjoy winter...NOT...the dread is coming, but you can't help but treasure her raw beauty.

sharon

beckie said...

Marnie, like you, I don't care for a lot of the grasses. But this one provides year round interest and seems to take little care-always a plus in the garden. I have been noiticing the dark maroon ones and thought they would look pretty with a light green. Will have to think about where to put them....

BeadedTail said...

I can't pronounce it but it's lovely nonetheless! Beautiful garden!

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

The variegated leaves are beautiful in the sunlight. I love the Fountain Grasses too. I have wanted some for my garden. Maybe next spring...

Rambling Woods said...

This looks similar to the grass that is planted near the pond in our back yard. Thin and right now has a tasseled kind of something that must be a flower of some kind. I am not describing it well. I thought you had to cut it down in the fall. You don't have to? Do you have to do it in the spring then?

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Miscanthus sinensis is a great species to plant ... we have a magnificent 'strictus' specimen going out front that has gotten over 6 ft tall this year! I'll have to devote a post to it soon, because we have gotten so many compliments on it lately. It's taken several (about 4) years to really come into its own, but we're really glad it has done so well. Only negative is, don't ever fall back on it or you'll regret it! I stumbled and fell backwards into it last summer and suffered numerous scrapes and cuts from its razor sharp leaves. Best admired from afar! :-)

Yours looks pretty happy where it is ... I'm with you on some grasses that just leave me cold, but Miscanthus is not one of them!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Flydragon, it gets between 3-4-feet tall. It does look good in Nov and Dec.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Tina, that silvery color is one if the most appealing charastics. I'm glad it comes thru in the photo.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sharon. I know exactly what you mean. I dread the dark days, bitter winds, and treacherous roads, but those lovely snows--there is nothing more beautiful.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Beckie. I haven't found a maroon one that is hardy here. Too bad. I really liked the pink one Frances has in her Fairegarden.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Beadedtail. Thanks. Pronunciation is a problem with these botanical names. Quite a few people will insist on using them so I just go along. A lot of folks call the Miscnathus 'maiden grass' which is not incorrect.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Morning Glories. You sound just like me. "Maybe next spring". So many plants--so little space;)
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rambling Woods. Most ornamental grasses do have plumes in the fall. A stand of tall grass, away from the house and people traffic, makes a good winter refuge for wildlife/birds. I would leave it standing. It's usually best to cut it back in early April so the new shoots can get plenty of sun.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning IVG. Your grass sounds beautiful. Looking forward to seeing your post and pictures.

Working around a lot of roses has made me VERY careful about losing my balance in the garden;) I hadn't thought of the grasses being dangerous, but that's a good thing to remember.
Marnie

perennialgardener said...

This one looks like a winner to me Marnie! I love the look of Ornamental Grasses, especially the variegated or burgundy ones.

Rose said...

Grasses are one plant I don't have in my garden. I keep looking at all the varieties in catalogs and at nurseries but can't decide which one I'd really like. I really like this miscanthus, Marnie; its variegation really makes it stand out.

Naturegirl said...

I have many varieties of grasses in my garden and the one I love best this time of year is the Japanese Blood grass...oh the flame it casts at peak hours in the sun!!!

Jamie and Randy said...

Marnie, I rarely find grasses that I like. This one is really, really pretty though. So many of them just look like weeds to me. LOL -Randy

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi PerennialGardener, I agree, they add a graceful aspect to the gardens structure.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rose, it took me forever to add some grasses. Keep looking, maybe your see a photo that you just love.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi NatureGirl. I like that dark contrasty color too. Unfortunately it's not hardy in my zone. I don't like it enough to treat it as an annual.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi RAndy. I think so too. I have barnyard grass that looks exactly like many of the ornamental ones you see in catalogs;)
Marnie

Carla said...

Very pretty ornamental grass! A lot of people use them in their landscapes here.

BTW, I got a kick out of your comment about the cranky old lady in your house. :-)

Frances said...

Hi Marnie, I love most grasses except the running kind, well I guess the blood grass runs, but anyway, one of my faves is the miscanthus morning light. Unlike the pennisetums, it doesn't throw seed around and stays put until you want to divide it. The flower heads are upright and can stand up all winter, as you say. This is one tough grass.

Frances
http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/
ps. So sorry about your not being able to grow the pink muhly. We are on the northern edge of its range, but global warming might let you grow it some day!
f

Gail said...

Marnie,

It's a beautiful grass! I am using the variegated miscanthus to soften my door and at the corner of the house to soften that edge.

If you cook you might like the Lemon Grass I plant each year. It get as tall and arching as the miscanthus but you can pull pieces out for Thai recipes. I leave it up all winter for color interest and replant it every spring.

Gail

Sherri said...

I love this grass. I don't like all grasses either but some really are beautiful!

Dog_geek said...

I'd really like to get more ornamental grasses to add some interest and fill in bare spots, but I can't seem to make up my mind on what to get. This looks like a good one!

TC said...

It's rare when you'll see miscanthus bothered by pests or disease. Ornamental grasses are a top pick in my book for easy maintenance and they're relatively easy to grow.

You're specimen is a beauty Marnie. Might I recommend miscanthus malepartus? http://www.bluestem.ca/miscanthus-malepartus.htm

Mary said...

The light really makes that look lovely. I can see why you like that one.

raccoonlover1963 said...

I don't know if your grass is the same as Sawgrass. It kind of looks the same. It is very pretty, but we had a clump of Sawgrass in our front flowerbed when we first moved into this house 2 years ago. Whenever I tried to trim around or pull weed around it, I would get cut, so when fall came that year, I cut it down and dug it up and burned what was left. My hands and arms were all cut up from it! I always saw it along some roads and lakes when we lived in Florida and always thought it looked so nice, but it sure didn't like me! LOL
Lisa

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Carla, yes I don't know what to do about that cranky old gal. She is replacing my tight jeans with baggy sweat pants. I can't bring myself to talk about what she's done with my shoes;)
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Frances, I really like morning light too. I almost lost it the first winter and now it is very slow to recover.

LOL, you're right, with global warming I will soon be growing gardenias, confederate jasmine, and pink muhly;)
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Gail, I'm definitely going to check out the lemon grass. That sounds really interesting. (I got a basket full of lemon grass lotions, oils and body mists last Christmas;) From the photos, the grass looks like leeks?
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sherri, I agree, some grasses aren't much different that the stuff growing in my pasture;)
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Hi Dog Geek, I guess size is the most important factor. Some get really big and some stay small.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi TC, I checked out that site. The plumes on that grass are fabulous! I really need to find a spot for Miscanthus sinensis Malepartus. Besides looking great in the garden, the plumes will be great in fall floral arrangements. Thanks TC
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Mary, yes I've always been partial to variegated foliage plants.

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Hi RaccoonLover, it isn't the same as saw grass. Most grasses can give shallow cuts as Iowa Victory Gardener pointed out.
Marnie

oldcrow61 said...

I have a grass similar to that, don't know what it's called though. It grows about 4 feet high and puts on a lovely show. It will grow anywhere it seems as I've cut out pieces and planted in other places. Even in shade.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi OldCrow. I just noticed you were into floral design. I really like grasses in dried arrangements.
Marnie

Rambling Woods said...

To make sure you see this comment about my cat Oliver on my blog.
Marnie..I have dealt with kidney disease. It is what took my 19 year old Jake. It is just like a person, everything starts to wear out. My sister says anything over the age of 10 is a senior cat. How much fun it must have been to have 3 litter mates.

Cordwood Cabin said...

The grass is beautiful--it's wonderful to see a picture of a beautiful plant sometimes a little forgotten, since there are no bright blossoms to draw our eye.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Cordwood Cabin, I agree. Grass has only graceful foliage and sometimes the plumes to recommend it.

Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi RamblingWoods, I'm sorry about your Jake. I know, most cats do not live to such advanced years. It's very hard for me.
Marnie

Gail said...

Marnie,

It is very grass like on top and leekish at the base where you reach down and pull out however much you want to cook with! It is really cool...smells delicious!

Gail

Kathleen said...

I've learned to like grasses too Marnie. I inherited two clumps when I bought my house (so I'm not sure exactly what their correct identity is) but I love them for their architectural interest in winter (like you said). If we get too much snow tho, they are flattened like pancakes. This one is beautiful.

troutbirder said...

Hey Marnie,
Interesting post and comments. I went to a workshop a few years back, given by TV's "Perennial Gardner" on grasses. Miscanthus sinensis was recommended so I bought several. One does a great job hiding the ugly electric meter board along my driveway.