The Q&A Archives: How well pampas grass survives in new jersey?

Question: Please tell me how well pampas grass survives in nj and what's the best time to plant? Can I buy an already grown plant or do I have to plant the seeds at this time of the year in order to have grass growing next spring? Please advice.
PS: I had rather buy the plant already developed if it's possible. Please suggest and give us prices, thank you. I will be ready to preserve the plant thru winters covering the ruths with an heavy dose of mulch if necessary.

Answer: Your zip code places you in winter hardiness zone 6A, and depending on your microclimate it could actually be as cold as zone 5. Unfortunately, the plant typically called pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is only hardy to zone 7 so it will not grow in your area. A similar-looking but hardier plant sometimes called Hardy Pampas Grass or Erianthus ravennae (Saccharum ravennae) may grow for you, depending on your microclimate, as it is considered hardy into zone 6. I would suggest you consult with your local county extension and/or professional nurseryman to see if they think it will grow well for you based on a more detailed understanding of the planting site. If not, they should be able to suggest substitutes among the hardier ornamenatal grasses -- there are many that will grow just fine in your area.

These are usually purchased as container grown plants for planting in the spring. Pricing and availability will depend on your local retailer, so please contact them directly for information. (Monrovia is a wholesale-only nursery and does not sell retail by catalog or on-line.) Enjoy your new grass!

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