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Miscanthus - Chinese silver grass

Buy miscanthus

If you buy a miscanthus, you get an elegant ornamental grass, which provides a delicate look in the garden. This is due to its gracefully sloped blades, the feathery, upright flower fronds that stand high above the foliage and a long-lasting winter silhouette. The beautiful leaf patterns of some varieties and the distinctive autumn colour contribute to the high ornamental value.

Especially towards the end of the season, a miscanthus (genus Miscanthus) unfolds its full beauty. The delicate flower panicles, which usually only appear in late summer in a silvery or reddish tone, look very attractive. Even in the winter, they still attract all the attention when the frost provides a fine texture. The true grass giants are the high-growing varieties – also called giant miscanthus or elephant grass. They ensure a desirable structure in a garden and a good privacy within one year.

Even in the absence of vegetation, a miscanthus remains decorative until the spring, although its above ground parts can become dry. Like other perennials, it will be fresh again from below in the new growth season. The beauty of many varieties of miscanthus is particularly evident in the individual position, as in particular the higher representatives like to be individualists. A planted miscanthus hedge, however, also proves to be a special highlight in the garden. In addition, smaller varieties are also quite suitable for low-growing hedges.

Miscanthus Varieties in the Lubera® Garden Shop

Take a look at the miscanthus assortment from Lubera! If you buy a miscanthus, it is reliably hardy, robust and quite used to a rough climate. The spectrum of available species and varieties is large. From majestic clump forming varieties to dwarf varieties that only reach a height well below one metre – there is something for every garden. And whether fresh green or spotted yellow, even the leaves provide ornamental beauty!

• The attractive dwarf miscanthus 'Little Zebra' grows upright and has delicate blades with funny, yellow, horizontal stripes. Due to its small stature, it fits in any garden and can also be kept in a pot (of 10 litres).

• The variety 'Far East' is a valuable, semi-tall selection of Ernst Pagels with two-tone, reddish-silvery flowers that appear quite early. As a specimen plant or structure type this variety is equally suitable. The attractive, orange-red autumn colour is a special eye-catcher.

• With the giant miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) 'Aksel Olsen', the flowers are not so prominent because they are not always formed. Nevertheless, this plant’s vigorous growth (over 3 metres) and its arched, overhanging leaves always ensure a great appearance in the garden.

   
 
   
 
Buy miscanthus

Buying Miscanthus – Background Information

These clump-forming grasses with the botanical name Miscanthus sinensis are very decorative and absolutely easy to care for. Their native home is in Asia. The representatives of the genus Miscanthus (family of sweet grasses, Poaceae) can be found especially in North China and Japan as well as in the Himalayas. Traditionally, the blades and stems are used for the production of mats and wickerwork/basketrys. The majority of garden miscanthus varieties come from the species Miscanthus sinensis.

The varieties of the related giant miscanthus (elephant grass) are impressive plants in the garden and they are very fast growing. Miscanthus x giganteus is a hybrid plant that is interestingly used as an energy plant (renewable resource) in agriculture. Elephant grass is a cross between Miscanthus sacchafiflorus and Miscanthus sinensis.

If you buy a miscanthus, it usually grows very dense – which means it takes up a lot of space in the garden – especially when it comes to larger varieties. The height varies between 80 and 400 centimetres. Its growth form is upright to arch-like and overhanging; the leaves are narrow, sharp-edged and dark green or variegated. Many miscanthus varieties are late bloomers – the flowers appear from August to October. But there are also exceptions; the variety 'Malepartus', for example, has already pretty flower spikes in July. Butterflies and bees also find the flowers of the miscanthus grasses attractive. You should know that not all varieties in our latitudes produce flowers reliably.

A miscanthus is a deciduous plant – that is, the above-ground parts die off in the winter.

The Suitable Location for a Miscanthus

A humus loam soil with a good water supply is ideal for a miscanthus. A heavy or compacted soil is rather unsuitable, so it should be prepared accordingly before planting. The soil should always be a bit fresh, but have no waterlogging. The optimum pH should be between 5 and 8. The vigour of the miscanthus plants depends to a large extent on the water supply. In a dry phase you should water, otherwise the miscanthus will lose part of its leaves.

A miscanthus prefers a sunny location and often needs quite a lot of space. If the summer turns out to be very warm, it is more likely that the miscanthus will flower. North-facing slopes and locations that are prone to late frost are less suitable for a miscanthus. For optimally overwintering the rhizomes in a harsh climate, a closed snow cover is advantageous.

Planting and Caring for Miscanthus

When you buy a miscanthus, the recommended planting time is the spring. In the beginning, you should water regularly so that the plants grow well. One plant per square metre is often sufficient. Note the specified height and width! Fertilisation is recommended starting in the 2nd year at the earliest. The miscanthus usually thrives in a normal garden soil without fertilisation. From mid-September, the nutrient supply should be stopped in any case, as the nutrients are relocated to the rhizomes.

You can do without a rhizome or root barrier when planting. There are no metre-long, subterranean runners to be feared. If your grass gets too wide over the years, you can easily reach for the spade and reduce the clump by dividing it up. Miscanthus giganteus (i. e. 'Aksel Olsen') is a creeper, but it only spreads very slowly. In this case, a root barrier may be useful, especially near a pond liner or a well-tended lawn.

Overwintering and Pruning Miscanthus

A miscanthus does not need winter protection as a summer-green ornamental grass, as it dies back into the ground in the winter. However, it is important that you cut the plant back to the ground next spring – just before it sprouts. In addition to the ornamental value mentioned above, the dry leaves and blades provide protection for the plant’s centre – so that the winter wetness penetrates less deeply.

Miscanthus and Ernst Pagels

Ernst Pagels was a gifted perennial breeder who had his own nursery in East Frisia. He had a special passion for miscanthus and many miscanthus breedings and selections are due to him. He succeeded for example in making the Chinese miscanthus species 'Gracillimus' flower in the greenhouse. Incidentally, Ernst Pagels’ garden is located in Bad Zwischenahn, Germany, where you can also find Lubera.

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