Miscanthus 

(miss-can' thus)

Common name: Silver Grass, Eulalia

Family: Poaceae, Grass

Height x width: 4-8' x 3-4' depending on species

Growth rate: moderate to fast

Foliage: mostly basal from a central large clump, 3-4' long and to ½" wide, tapered to pointed tip, sharp margins

Flowers: pale pink to reddish terminal panicles 8-10" long, turning tan in fall and long lasting through winter

Hardiness: varies with cultivar

Soil: most

Light: sun, less vigorous in part shade

Pests and Problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses: borders, massed, screens, winter effect of dense panicles, dried cut flowers

Other interest: native to eastern Asia; name from the Greek mischos meaning stalk and anthos meaning flowers, refering to the stalked spikelets

Other culture: some species in warm climates may be invasive from seeds, but are not usually in the north as seeds don't mature; a few species may be very invasive by roots so proper placement is crucial

Propagation: spring division

Species:
 
Species height zones characteristics
floridulus 8-10' 5-9 Giant Chinese Silver Grass, blooms late, good screen
oligostachys 3-4' 5-9 Small Japanese Silver Grass, silver panicles
*purpurascens 4-5' 3-9 Flame Grass, reddish foliage, early bloom, large clumps
sacchariflorus 4-6' 4-8 Silver Banner Grass, very invasive by roots
sinensis 4-7' 5-9 Chinese Silver Grass, some cv's less hardy
transmorrisonensis 3-4' 6-9 golden blooms early to late, evergreen

 


Cultivars:

All are cultivars of sinensis except for 'Herkules' (purpurascens), 'Interstate 95' and 'Robustus' (sacchariflorus). Those marked * are most common in U.S. commerce of the over 100 available..
 
Cultivar height zones characteristics
*'Adagio' 4' 5-9 thin silver-gray foliage, pink flowers turning white
'Altweibersommer' 6-7' 6-9 'Indian Summer', blooms late
'Arabesque' 4-5' 5-9 compact
'Autumn Light' 7-9' 5-9 blooms late
'Blondo' 5-7' 4-9  
'Bluetenwunder' 6-7' 6-9 'Flower Wonder', silvery flowers
'Cabaret' 6-7' 7-9 wide cream center stripes, wide leaves, pink flowers
'Condensatus' 6-8' 6-9 purplish flowers, Purple Blooming Japanese S.G.
'Cosmopolitan' 7-9' 7-9 wide cream margins
'Cosmo Revert' 7-9' 7-9 pink flowers, silver margins
'Dixieland' 3-4' 6-9 wide leaves, white stripes
'Ferner Osten' ('Far East') 4-5' 6-9 dark green, silver midrib, reddish flower
'Flamingo' 5-6' 6-9 dark green, midrib, large pink flowers
'Gold und Silber' 5-6' 5-9 'Gold and Silver', slender, gold flowers turn silver
'Goldfeder' ('Gold Feather') 5-6' 5-9 golden variegated, slow growth
'Goliath' 8-9' 5-9 massive, pink flowers
*'Gracillimus'  5-6' 5-9 Maiden Grass, bronze flowers turn silver, late
'Gracillimus Nana' 3-4 6-9 Dwarf Maiden Grass
'Gracillimus Variegatus':'Morning Light'      
'Graziella' 5-6' 5-9 slender foliage, large white flowers, bronze in fall
'Grosse Fontaene' 6-7' 5-9 'Large Fountain', fountain-like habit
'Helga Reich' 4-5' 5-9 an earlier 'Gracillimus'
'Herbstfeuer' ('Autumn Fire') 4-5' 5-9 creamy white flowers, reddish fall color
'Juli' ('July') 6-7' 5-9 dark pink flowers, vigorous
'Kaskade' 5-7' 5-9 pink flowers, cascading habit, early
'Kleine Fontaene' 3-4' 5-9 'Little Fountain', fountain-like habit
'Kleine Silberspinne' 3-4' 5-9 upright habit
'Malepartus' 6-7 5-9 large pink-purple flowers, robust growth
*'Morning Light' 4-5' 5-9 thin silver-variegated leaves, red-bronze flowers
'Nippon' 3-4' 5-9 slender foliage, early flowers, bronze in fall
'November Sunset' 6-8 5-9 large plant
'Positano' 6-7' 5-9 graceful, red flowers, good fall color
'Puenktchen' ('Little Dot') 5-7' 5-9 finer than 'Zebrinus', yellow banded foliage
'Rigoletto' 4-5' 5-9 slender with silver midrib, blooms late
'Roland' 8-9' 5-9 large pink-purple flowers
'Rotpfeil' ('Red Arrow') 5-6' 5-9 best for red fall color
'Rotsilber' ('Red Silver') 4-5' 5-9 reddish flower, good fall color
*'Sarabande' 4-5' 4-9 fine silvery foliage, golden flowers
*'Silberfeder' ('Silver Feather') 6-8' 5-9 silver flowers, good winter effect
'Silberpfeil' ('Silver Arrow') 5-7' 6-9 similar to 'Variegatus'
'Silberspinne' ('Silver Spider') 4-5' 5-9 narrow leaves, silvery flowers
'Silberturm' ('Silver Tower') 8-10' 6-9 large silver flowers
'Sirene' 5-6' 5-9 golden flowers
*'Strictus' 6-8' 6-9 Porcupine Grass, yellow banding, comact, upright
'Tiger Cub' 5-6' 6-9 like 'Strictus', early bands
'Undine' 6-7' 5-9 low foliage, slender culms, silvery flowers
*'Variegatus' 5-7 5-9 cream variegated, blooms late
*'Yaku Jima' 3-4' 6-9 dwarf 'Gracillimus', silver flowers
*'Zebrinus' 6-8' 5-9 horizontal zebra-like bands, reddish flowers late
'Zwergelefant' ('Little Elephant') 5-6' 6-9 compact, coarse texture, large pink flowers

(Morning Light, Adagio photos courtesy Missouri botanical gardens plantfinder)


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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