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Miscanthus sinensis

Phonetic Spelling
miss-KANTH-us sih-NEN-sis
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Maiden grass, in the true grass or Poaceae family, is the most common ornamental grass.  Having originated in Asia, this grass has numerous cultivars, although some are considered weedy and invasive in the southeastern United States.

It is a clumping grass that grows up to 12 feet tall in all types of soil and in all but the shadiest of environments. Wind-disseminated seeds increase the invasive nature of some cultivars that, once established, are difficult to eradicate. Frost-killed portions of maiden grass can remain standing throughout the dormant season because the buff-colored foliage, stalks, and hairy white fruiting heads have great fall and winter interest and the seeds are particularly attractive to birds.

Foliage should be cut down in late winter or early spring before, or just as, new blades begin to appear.  Heavy mulching helps prevent seed germination and can keep this plant from becoming invasive.  It is relatively pest and disease-free, is highly salt tolerant, and also resistant to damage by deer. 

This grass is used mainly in mass plantings, as a specimen plant or screen, and in dried flower arrangements.  

Quick ID Hints:

  • Forms erect clumps 
  • Terminal inflorescence is 8-inch long, finger-like racemes

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  This plant can become weedy and invasive, depending on the cultivar.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Border Landscape Pinewild County Club, Moore County
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Adagio', 'Gold Bar', 'Goldfeder', 'Goliath', 'Gracillimus', 'Graziella', 'Hinjo', 'Malepartus', 'Morning Light', 'NCMS1', 'Rotsilber', 'Sarbonde', 'Silberfeder', 'Strictus', var. condensatus 'Cabaret', var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan', 'Variegatus', 'Yaku Jima', 'Zebrinus'
Tags:
#arching#showy flowers#invasive#full sun tolerant#wildlife plants#weedy#salt tolerant#cover plant#winter interest#apvg#fall interest#playground#children's garden#wind dispersed seeds#pollinator plant#fantz#dried arrangements#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#apvg-p
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Adagio', 'Gold Bar', 'Goldfeder', 'Goliath', 'Gracillimus', 'Graziella', 'Hinjo', 'Malepartus', 'Morning Light', 'NCMS1', 'Rotsilber', 'Sarbonde', 'Silberfeder', 'Strictus', var. condensatus 'Cabaret', var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan', 'Variegatus', 'Yaku Jima', 'Zebrinus'
Tags:
#arching#showy flowers#invasive#full sun tolerant#wildlife plants#weedy#salt tolerant#cover plant#winter interest#apvg#fall interest#playground#children's garden#wind dispersed seeds#pollinator plant#fantz#dried arrangements#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#apvg-p
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Miscanthus
    Species:
    sinenesis
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Resistant to deer, attract birds for the seeds
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Cascading
    Clumping
    Columnar
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Aggregate
    Caryopsis
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Inflorescences a terminal panical of spikelets that unfurl atop the central vertical stalks, and differ among the numerous cultivars in terms of their time of emergence, color, separation from the upper foliage (well-separated or immersed within it), and Winter persistence. Secondary axes in elongate, finger-like racemes that grow up to 8" long. Spikelets are paired, less than an inch in size, lanceolate, and with long silky hairs basally. As fruits develop, axes develop hairs that spread for seed dispersal.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    White
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Arching blades may range from 0.25" to 2" wide, and 3' to 5' long, sometimes with variegation on the medium-green foliage that is silver, white, cream, or yellow on the midrib. Leaves are flat, linear sheated, inconspicuously serrulate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are cane-like, erect, spreading, bearing leaves reducing in size upwards and terminating in an inflorescence.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Humidity
    Salt
    Wet Soil
    Wind
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Weedy