Plant of The Month – Miscanthus Kleine Silberspine
Miscanthus has to be my favourite species of ornamental grass, so much so that I have already introduced another variety in one of these articles a few years ago, Miscanthus Graccillimus. With so many cultivars to choose from there is a variety to suit almost every corner of the garden.
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. 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
Kleine Silberspinne is compact and doesn’t take up too much space. It has narrow, silvery leaves which have a white stripe down the centre and masses of upright, feathery, reddish-brown plumes fade to silver in the autumn. When the flowers catch the evening sun, the plant appears to be sitting under a silvery halo.
I often use Miscanthus “Kleine Silberspinne” as a textural filler for shrub borders, as the contrasting structure of the spiky grass help to break up the contrasting “mound” formation of the shrubs. However, I also use this grass to bring colour and form to herbaceous planting too. It can look great with a clump of Sedum, as well as mixing with other herbaceous plants like Agastache, Echinops and Salvias.