The Q&A Archives: Cortaderia selloanoa

Question: What Heat/ Cold zone am I in and will my Ivory Feathers Dwarf Pampas Grass survive a winter in Spokane Washington. I was told to cut the foliage back and by another that it wasn't necessary to do so. Also the blooms/plumes have been on the plant for several weeks now. Is it too late to cut them and bring them into the house for decorative arrangements and will the blossoms fall off?

Thanks, Lori

Answer: I think the confusion lies in the fact that Pampas Grass is only marginally hardy in your gardening zone (you're in zone 6 and Cortaderia is hardy only to zone 7). With that said, the best approach is to allow the foliage to remain on the plant rather than cutting it back prior to winter's arrival. If the leaves do freeze and die this winter, they will still provide a protective insulation over the crown of the plant. In the spring you can cut away the winter killed leaves and new leaves will emerge from the crown.

As for harvesting the plumes, you can cut them off now and take them indoors. Their age will determine whether or not they will remain intact or will shatter in the dry indoor air. If you intend to always harvest and use the plumes in the future, be sure to cut them off the plant when they are fresh and new. This will extend their life and prevent shattering when used in dried arrangements.

Best wishes with your garden!

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