Maiden Grass Care

Growing Maiden Grass

Maiden grass, also known as Miscanthus sinensis or silver grass, is a family of ornamental grasses with arching stems and feathery plumes. The fluffy, silvery plumes appear in late summer and dry to a tan color that remains all winter. It grows easily in most garden conditions and tolerates both clay and sandy soils.

Some of the cultivars are quite large and reach 12 feet high and 10 feet wide, while more compact varieties will stay 3 – 4 feet in size. These grasses make elegant, low-maintenance screens for the back of a border. Make sure you research the size of the cultivar and provide enough space for it to reach its mature size. 

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Planting Maiden Grass

Maiden grass performs best in full sun, with at least 6 hours of sun a day. It prefers evenly moist, well-drained soil of average fertility. It tolerates clay, sandy, and poor soil, as long as the soil drains well. To plant this grass, find a sunny location with enough space for it to reach its mature size. Dig a hole just wide enough for the rootball, and set the the crown slightly above the soil surface to allow the soil to settle over time.

Backfill the hole with native soil and avoid mixing in soil additives, such as manure or compost. Saturate the planting hole with water to fill in any air gaps around the roots. Spread a layer of organic compost around the root zone to conserve moisture.

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Watering Maiden Grass

Keep newly planted maiden grass moist during the first year after planting. Over a few years, it will develop drought tolerance and will need only occasional supplemental water over the summer. Water it more regularly during hot, dry weather to encourage healthy growth. Containers dry out faster than plants in the ground and should be watered whenever the top two inches of soil feel dry. 

Fertilizing Maiden Grass

This ornamental grass does not need to be fertilized. You can apply a layer of organic compost around the base of the grass each spring to improve your soil composition. Application of fertilizers rich in nitrogen can weaken this grass and cause it to flop. 

Pruning Maiden Grass

Maiden grass will go dormant in the winter, but the dried leaves and flower stalks can be left in place to provide winter interest in the landscape. In early spring, this grass should be cut back to make room for new growth. Tie back the dried foliage, and use a pair of sharp, sterilized pruning shears or a power hedge trimmer to lob off the grass to about 6 inches above the ground. Be sure to wear long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection while pruning this robust grass.

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Caring For Maiden Grass in Pots

Maiden grasses, especially the compact varieties, are easy to grow in containers. Choose a frost-proof container with large drainage holes if your plant will be outside all winter. The container should be big enough to accommodate the large root system of maiden grass. Use potting soil that is for specifically designed for containers to prevent water-logged soil. Cover the roots with soil only to the depth the grass was originally planted, and leave a couple inches at the top of the container for watering. Water regularly during the summer when the top two inches of soil feel dry.

Winter Care for Maiden Grass

Maiden grasses are typically hardy in zones 5 – 9 and will not need any special winter care. At the lower end of its hardiness range, you can protect the crown from severe cold weather by heaping mulch around the base of the plant. In late fall, the foliage will die back and turn brown. You can leave the clumps standing for winter interest, and cut this grass back to about 6 inches above the ground in the spring. This perennial grass will come back each spring and is expected to live for 15 – 20 years.

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Common Care Questions About Maiden Grass

Does maiden grass need to be cut back?

How long does it take maiden grass to grow?

Does maiden grass need full sun?

Are Maiden Grass Deer Resistant?

Are Maiden Grass Poisonous?

Are Maiden Grass Edible?

Are Maiden Grass Invasive?

Why Aren’t Maiden Grass Blooming?

Other typical questions:

Does Maiden Grass spread

Is Maiden Grass invasive?

does Maiden Grass have invasive roots

Is Maiden Grass an annual or perennial

Does Maiden Grass come back every year

Maiden Grass leaves turning yellow, brown, black.

Maiden Grass growth rate?

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