An ornamental grass, Pampas is also known as Cortaderia selloana. Pampas grass plants grow in large clumps and achieve the height anywhere between eight to ten feet. Being ornamental, the flowers that are borne on this evergreen grass are white, pink, rose, or purple in color. The flowers are like plumes, plumes resemble feathers in texture, shape, and light weight. Some dwarf varieties have also been introduced to suit specific landscaping requirements. Male and female pampas differ slightly in their plume bearing abilities. Male plumes are thin and narrow, as they lack tiny hair that form the flowers, whereas females have very fine silk hair on their plumes, that gives them a long, thick, and a very elegant appearance. In the article below, you will know how to care for Pampas grass.
Pampas Grass Care
- Pampas grass propagation is either done through seeds or clump division.
- Although it does germinate from seeds, newer varieties, the specially-colored ones will not originate from seeds. So, make sure you purchase high quality seeds.
- Another common way to propagate is the to divide the clumps. Division is done in early spring, so the plant gets enough light and water to root itself.
Soil and Light
- This grass is like any other grass, hence, has little requirements in order to grow well.
- Complete sunlight and well-drained soil is enough to get this grass to turn itself into a beauty.
- Clay or heavy soil should be mulched frequently during the fall and winter rainy season.
- It is even capable of tolerating excess water or a slightly chilly weather, however, to get its plumes to bloom well, sunlight is essential. They are not shade plants.
- As the grass spreads wide and is quite tall, it needs space to grow. So, while deciding on a place to plant pampas grass, make sure you give each clump a minimum 5 feet or more gap. Corners and borders are best place to grow them.
- Prepare the pampas grass planting soil by preparing it with part compost, part peat moss or processed manure, part sand, and soil.
- The hole to plant the clumps should be about 12 to 18 inches deep and about 15 to 18 inches wide, and for seedlings, just 5 to 7 inches deep.
- Width can be maintained, as the grass will grow and spread itself.
- Grass grown in container may not bear plumes for the first two or three years, but that is normal.
- It prefers liquid fertilization, mostly a combination of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, such as 6-6-6 or 8-8-8.
- Pour the fertilizer away from the clumps. If one is using fertilizer in the form of granules, scatter all around the grass and water it well.
- Avoid excess fertilizing, as it will damage its flower-bearing capacity and may burn the clumps. Fertilizing quarterly is more than enough.
- Pampas grass pruning is more or less taken care by the grass natural growth process.
- Most leaves will fade away due to freezing temperature, so one just needs to cut them back. But, for place where the winters are mild, a hard pruning before spring will do the needful.
- A word of caution, wear gloves, glasses, and cover yourself well before pruning. The blades of the grass are very sharp and capable of cutting through the skin, and the fine hair can get in the eyes and irritate them.
- Pampas grass allergies are caused due to the pollen, as well as lower-level chemicals, that are usually held safely in the grass stalks.
- Prune old grass stalks, that have either gone diseased or brown, or are way out of shape.
- All pruning must be done before the new growth of the green ornamental grass leaves start to sprout in the spring.
- Some people lightly burn the crown top with a newspaper after pruning, to facilitate the production of new growth.
- Although, it gives a startling effect to any landscape design, an overgrowth or out of control pampas growth will become invasive.
- To remove pampas grass, one requires to wear protective clothing and some gardening tools.
- Using a powered hedge trimmer or cutter, cut out the most stalks from the base. Once the stalks are gone, start digging around the clumps and roots.
- Start to dig, prune, and chip away at the clumps and roots steadily. Keep digging deeper as well.
- A well-established pampas may require professional help. The clumps are difficult to remove at once, so one needs to chip into it.
- Once the clumps and roots have been removed, collect them all in a bag along with leaves, stalks, plumes, and flowers, and discard them.
There are 24 species native to South American Pampas and four indigenous ones to New Zealand. Maintenance of Pampas grass is minimal, so everyone who wants to enjoy this tall willowy grass, can do it without much worry!