Cortaderia selloana, or Pampas grass was planted around the world in Victorian times, today it is considered to be one of the most popular of the ornamental grasses. Pampas grass is a tough, large grass that forms dense, substantial clumps featuring arching, narrow green leaves that are topped in fall by huge, feathery, silvery white plumes. It is typically used as an ornamental plant in certain southern and western parts of the U. S. At times it has also been grown commercially for harvest of its large flower plumes for use in dried arrangements.
Leaf blades are extremely sharp (easily cut human skin) and may reach 6 to 8 feet in length. Flower plumes (1 to 3 feet in length) may rise to 10 to 12 feet tall on erect stems. The silvery white plumes (sometimes with traces of pink) are more impressive on female plants than on male plants.
How To Make Your Cortaderia Selloana, or Pampas Grass Thrive
Pampas grass is winter hardy in Zones 8 to 10. Ideal growing conditions include dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils and full sun. It tolerates light shade and drought once it is established.
You should cut foliage back to the ground in late winter to maintain this plant. Clumps maybe divided in late winter to early spring. This grass is technically gynodioecious, but usually appears dioecious. Female plants produce prodigious amounts of seed and can self-seed freely, often resulting in naturalization that displaces native plants. This plant is considerably invasive in certain areas of the western U. S., particularly California and Hawaii
General Cortaderia Selloana, or Pampas Grass Information
Pests and Diseases
There are no serious insect or disease problems. It will invasively self-seed in some warm winter areas. Leaf edges are extremely sharp.
When a pampas grass plant is 4 to 6 years old, the center of the clump begins dying. This is signaled by new growth appearing only around the younger, healthier perimeter of the plant. This is the time to think about dividing the roots and replanting.
Cortaderia selloana can be propagated in August or September by division, but the best time is in the spring after the last frost, and before the appearance of new growth. This will give the plant an entire growing season to recover from the process and establish its root system well before winter dormancy.
Wear heavy gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when working in such close proximity to pampas grass. The stiff leaves have spiked edges that can inflict nasty cuts.
This is a large ornamental grass ideal for large landscapes. It is an excellent specimen. Use it as a background plant for borders
Plumes may be cut and dried for use in indoor flower arrangements.
- Family: Poaceae
- Common Name: Pampas grass
- Type: Ornamental grass
- Hardiness Zones: Zones 8 to 10
- Height: 8 to 12 feet
- Spread: 4 to 6 feet
- Bloom Time: August to February
- Blooms: Silver white
- Sun: Full sun
- Water: Dry to medium
- Maintenance: Medium
- Tolerates: Drought, black walnut trees, urban air pollution
Great background information