Well chosen ornamental grass adds a classic touch to landscape designs. This grass has arching foliage that spreads in all directions. You can plant it as a specimen, or to create a background for seasonal flowers. It looks beautiful when planted in the vicinity of a garden pond, or surrounding a water component. In addition to the foliage, the large plumes of this grass are worthy of appreciation.
The scientific name for maiden grass is Miscanthus sinensis. This ornamental grass is known by different common names like porcupine grass, silver feather, zebra grass, and Eulalia grass among others. Based on the leaf color and growth habit, there are several varieties of this grass. The popular types include adagio, morning light, Graziella, and gold bar. Some of these have a height of 25-40 inches, while others are several feet tall. Dwarf maiden grass, also known as 'little kitten', measures about 30 inches in height and spreads 18 inches. Whichever type you are looking for, the leaves develop from a dense clump and look more beautiful in summer. With the arrival of the cold winter months, the green or variegated foliage turns to a brown shade. Along with the leaves, the seed heads change their color in fall and winter. What's more, this grass is a hardy perennial that grows luxuriantly for many years with minimum attention.
Select the type of maiden grass that you want to grow in your garden. Consider your garden theme, and accordingly you can go for a uniform green foliage or one with variegated leaves. Also, take a note of the selected grass height to complement your garden plants.
Nearly all types of this grass prefer to grow in sunny areas, but they can tolerate shady conditions as well. They adapt to all soil types (sandy, loamy, clayey, etc.), but luxuriant growth is observed in well-drained soil with a nearly neutral pH range, preferably pH 6.8-7.5. It makes a good companion plant for flowers such as sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, phloxes, purple coneflowers, asters, and irises.
Plantation is done in the spring, so that it gets accustomed to the area before getting exposed to the scorching summer heat. Another option is to plant it in the fall before the arrival of heavy frost and cold winds. Depending on your plan, prepare your garden soil and purchase maiden grass clumps, which come in containers.
After you're done with garden soil preparation, dig a large hole (not very deep) about 2-3 times the width of the original container. It has a shallow root system, so deep planting is not necessary. Remove the grass clump from the pot without disturbing the root system. Spread the roots gently and place the clump in the hole. Refill soil to cover the roots and press the soil tightly to remove air pockets. Water your newly-planted grass.
Irrigate the plants at regular intervals in the first few weeks after plantation. Though maiden grass grows well without supplementing external fertilizers, adding a mild dose of 10-10-10 nutrient formulation early in the summer will promote healthy growth. As soon as it establishes in the soil with new root and shoot growth, regular watering is not necessary.
Most hobbyists prefer cutting the foliage clumps just above the ground in spring to enjoy uniform colored leaves in summer. Besides their strikingly beautiful foliage and plumes, the popularity of this ornamental grass is attributed to disease and pest resistance. Another plus point is that you can use its luxuriant foliage as fillers in cut flower arrangements.