Miscanthus has to be my favourite species of ornamental grass, with so many cultivars to choose from there is one that is suitable for almost every corner of the garden. They have great structure in the early parts of the year which works well in any border whether it be a traditional or contemporary scheme. They look their best in a naturalistic planting scheme however they can also look great standing alone. The texture is its most important feature however when the flowers arrive they look graceful, elegant and provide colour and structure for the remaining part of the year. It’s one of those plants that looks great almost through all the seasons.
The genus name, Miscanthus is derived from two Greek words, mischos (stalk) and anthos (flower). Sinensis means “of China.” The common name for the plant is known as Maiden Grass. There are many selections of Miscanthus now available, but Miscanthus Gracillimus is by far the most popular of all. Plants form a graceful, upright mound of narrow green foliage that stays attractive from summer right through the winter. Coppery-pink plumes appear in late summer and the foliage dries and turns a light tan shade for the winter.
Miscanthus is easily grown and is tolerant of a wide range of soils from well-drained sandy soils to the heavy clay. It does prefer full sun but can be grown in part shade too. It can be used in gardens where there are problems with resident deer and rabbits and another of its great attributes is that it requires little maintenance – one hacking back a year is all it requires. Plants can often need a lot of room however there are some varieties, like “Yakushima Dwarf” which is more suited to smaller plots.
I often use Miscanthus “Gracillimus” as a textural filler for shrub borders as the contrasting structure of the spiky grass highlight the more mound forming shrubs. I also use this grass to bring colour and form to herbaceous planting too and it can look great with a clump of Sedum Autumn Joy planted in front of it, again the contrast of the differing plant structures bringing interest even when there is no flower. Other herbaceous plants that work well with Miscanthus include: Agastache, Echinops and Salvias. If you want to create a more naturalistic planting scheme then mix with daisy flowers like Echinacea, Aster and Rudbeckia. Or just plant in a pot and enjoy it on its own, it’s one of those plants you will never regret planting in your garden. domperidone motilium price