Allen Owings is a horticulture professor at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station. He is a Louisiana-licensed landscape horticulturist and serves as director of research and education for the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association.

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Muhly grass
by Allen Owings       #Plant Profile   #Pink

Photo courtesy of Mengmeng Gu.

One of the native ornamental grasses that has received a considerable amount of attention the past few years is muhly grass. Not likely to be noticed in the spring and summer, it puts on quite a show in the landscape during the fall. When other ornamental grasses are falling down and foliage is looking bad, this native will be covered with a pink cloud of wispy flower heads held high above the wiry foliage. The effect is amplified when planted in large masses. By late summer,  muhly grass will grow to about 30 inches by 30 inches. The plant, of course, will increase in size and flowering capacity each year as it gets larger. It is a hardy perennial around the state. Cut back to about 6 inches in late winter to allow room for the new season’s growth. Fertilize in early spring, Provide full sun and only minimum irrigation.

hoto courtesy of D. Nash

Photo courtesy of Sid Mullis.   

Photo courtesy of Shannon Pable.

Common Name: Muhly grass

Botanical Name: Muhlenbergia capillaris

Varieties/Cultivars to Look For: A few in the trade, but most sold in Louisiana are referred to a Gulf Coast muhly grass.

Color: Green foliage with purplish-pink flower plumes

Blooming Period: September-November

When to Prune: Zones 7-10

Type: Perennial

Size: 3 feet tall x 3 feet wide once plants reach maturity in the landscape

Exposure: Sun

When to Plant: Fall or late winter/early spring

How to Plant: Stagger group plantings of three or five.

Soil: Well drained but adapted to many soil types.

Watering: Drought tolerant

When to Prune: Cut to 6-8 inches above soil line in late winter/early spring.

When to Fertilize: Spring when new growth commences

In Your Landscape: Muhly grass is a great accent plant for annual flower beds and perennial gardens. You can combine with pink, blush, rose and white flowering plants for a nice color combination in the landscape.

(From Louisiana Gardener October 2011.)



Posted: 11/04/11   RSS | Print


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