The Q&A Archives: Ornamental Grass for Missouri

Question: I'd like to try growing pampas grass. What are its requirements? How many plants to a 5x5 foot space?

Answer: Unfortunately, pampas grass isn't hardy in zone 5. Some cool-climate gardeners grow it in containers they move inside during the winter. If you're looking for a tall grass with a large, feathery head, a better choice is common reed (Phragmites australis) which prefers full sun and moist soil (at the edge of a pond or marsh, it can grow close to 20' high!). Calamagrostis x acutiflora is another. It's a non-invasive grass that sports feathery, brownish-yellow flowers turn gray in fall. There are many varieties to choose from. In general, it grows 4-6' tall, 1.5-2' across, prefers full sun. You'll find these and other ornamental grasses offered by Kurt Bluemel, Inc., 2740 Greene Lane, Baldwin MD 21013; ph# 410/557-7229; Enjoy!

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