The Q&A Archives: Care of Maiden Grass

Question: When and what type of trimming does the Maiden Grass require in order to make it thrive and grow tall and bloom.

Answer: Maiden grass, or Miscanthus sinensis, is among the showiest and most beautiful of ornamental grasses. A clump of maiden grass can grow to 7 feet by late summer. The top of a clump is wider than the bottom. The top may be 8 feet wide, emerging from a 24 inch diameter base. The stiff, arching leaves extend on all sides. Various cultivars have variegations that contrast with the green leaf tissue. The beauty of the leaves in summer is supplanted by the magnificent tan-to-red seedheads appearing in late August. Winter brings another period of beauty when leaves turn buff brown and the seedheads fade to silver. The plant surfaces seem to attract frost and few things are more eye-catching than a frosted clump of maiden grass.

Grow in full sunshine, and fertilize in the spring, when the leaves have begun to grow vigorously. Give new plants 1/4 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer in May, in late June, and again late August. Give mature clumps 1 cup of 10-10-10 in May and in late August.

In the spring, cut off all the foliage to a height of 6 inches to 8 inches. When the center of a mature clump becomes open or hollow, divide it. Dig up the whole root ball, then plunge a sharp shovel through the center. Each half can then be halved again. Plant one section in the original hole and look for other places in your garden where the grass can flourish.


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