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Ribbon Grass

A Brief Overview of the Fast-spreading Ribbon Grass

Ribbon grass is a type of deciduous grass which grows in the wild but can also be tamed to grow in gardens. Planting this in the garden adds beauty and style to the landscape.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Jul 28, 2017
These days, it is not surprising to note that grass is used as an ornamental plant to add a lively aura to the garden. Ornamental or decorative plants, with their bright, flashy foliage are a value addition to any garden. The history of the ornamental plants and grasses can be traced back to the 1980s when a German landscape architect, Wolfgang Oehme displayed them in the public gardens of Washington D. C., from where their popularity rose to great heights. There are many types of grass that are used to decorate the gardens due to their attractive foliage and pattern. One such grass is the ribbon grass, known for its long, double-shaded leaves. There are two varieties of this ornamental grass - variegated and Japanese. In the variegated kind, the leaves are a mixture of cream and green colors, while in the Japanese kind, the grass has cream and green-colored leaves with a pinkish tinge.

A Brief Overview

Ribbon grass or phalaris arundinacea is one of the many ornamental grass types that can be seen in many homes. This ornamental grass is a deciduous kind, which sheds its foliage in the cold months of the winter season and regrows fresh leaves in spring. These plants are resilient to any kind of soil and hence can also thrive in nutrient-poor soil. They grow in an extensive manner as ground cover and spread their roots (or rhizomes) in a wide area.

This ornamental grass plant, also known as 'canary grass' in some parts of the world, can grow up to several feet in height. The average height of this plant is approximately 4 to 5 feet with sturdy stems. They have narrow, blade-like leaves which produce clusters of flowers in the mid summer. The leaves have multicolored stripes, ranging from the subtle creams to the flashy yellows or oranges. These plants can even be grown in containers and kept as indoor plants--which is an advantage because this can control the aggressive growth of the plant. A less invasive cultivar of ribbon grass, picta, is also a popular ornamental plant.

Caring for the Plant

Ribbon grass is a hardy grass that can withstand any type of climate or soil. But this doesn't imply that the grass does not require any care. The grass can be grown easily in any kind of soil and can thrive there--in sunlight or in shade. But it must be remembered that this is one of the fast growing grass kinds, which tends to spread quickly. Hence sow these grass seeds in an area which has shade, since they are less invasive in the shade.

Here are some grass seed planting tips that can be implemented to plant this grass.
  • Choose a location for the grass before planting. Dig the soil deep to allow wide access to its spreading roots.
  • Ensure that the soil remains moist and well drained. Clogging of water can rot the roots and completely damage the plant.
  • Space the saplings equally so that they don't display a cluttered look when they grow. Since the grass spreads rapidly, pruning it on a regular basis will keep a check on its characteristic of being invasive. You can also prune the grass in innovative shapes to make it look more attractive and appealing.
Ribbon grass has the magic to weave a calm and relaxing environment, due to its well-textured and gentle form. So get hold of this grass variety and let its aesthetic value light up your garden.