Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Gracilimus’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracilimus' (10/07/2011, London)

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracilimus' (10/07/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to dappled shade

Soil: Moist, well drained soil

Flowering period: Early autumn

Eventual Height: 1.2m

Eventual Spread: 45m

Hardiness: USDA Zone 5a-9b

Family: Poaceae

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ is a deciduous, perennial grass with a clump forming habit. Its herbaceous foliage is formed from very narrow, upright leaves, which are hairy beneath and often turn bronze. It may, depending on conditions, bear fan shaped panicles of awned, hairy, white spikelets in early autumn.

Miscanthus sinensis, commonly known as Chinese Silver Grass or Eulalia Grass, is native to much of eastern Asia including Korea, China and Japan. Research is currently being carried out in the United States and Great Britain into using this plant for the production of bio-energy.

Miscanthus is derived from the Greek miskos meaning ‘stem’ and anthos meaning ‘flower’, referring to the stalked spikelets, with sinensis meaning ‘of or from China’.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracilimus' flower (28/08/2009)

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracilimus' flower (28/08/2009)

This plant may be useful to the landscape architect as a low maintenance, tall grass. It will make an exceptional impact when planted en-masse in windswept sites as its foliage sways in a breeze. It can also form a component in prairie style planing.

This plant will tolerate almost any soil conditions; it will be happy at neutral, acid or alkaline pH levels, in loam, clay or sand based soils facing any sheltered or exposed aspect. It is also drought tolerant once established.

Ecologically this plant will attract various species of birds that will use it as cover from predators.

Maintenance: This plant requires little to no maintenance. Dead or damaged material may be removed in spring.

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