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Stipa arundinacea - Pheasant's Tail Grass

Stipa arundinacea is probably one of the most planted of all Stipa grasses. The two images below should give some idea as to why this is such a popular member of the group of grasses collectively known as Stipa.

It is evergreen, but not the same green throughout the year! This is an evergreen grass that changes colour like a chameleon - though not to blend in with its surroundings - but rather - to compliment and contrast with them.

Stipa arundinacea planted around a pond - Autumn colourA drift of Stipa arundinacea around a pond

As a landscape grass, Stipa arundinacea - the Pheasant's Tail Grass - has so much going for it. It will establish and grow well in any suitable position; it is versatile enough to be planted formally or informally; It is not out of place in a modern setting - nor traditional; It can be found a place in any herbaceous border, shrub border, or be admired as a stand alone specimen.

The green young foliage of the spring, soon gives way to orange and pink, which in turn, then develops into the gorgeous brown tints seen here where planted around the pond.

Stipa arundinacea - Pheasant's Tail Grass
The summer colours of the evergreen foliage.

  • Height and spread of Stipa arundinacea.  The foliage and flower spikes soon weight the Stipa down into an arching mound. A single plant should take up space of around 60cm - 2ft. Maybe more when established. The height is similar, rarely exceeding 2ft - especially if rained upon!
  • Evergreen Stipa. Stipa arundinacea is an evergreen in spite of the colour changes of its foliage, with no significant die-down of the foliage over winter - simply a change of colour.
  • Dry gardens are well suited to growing all the Stipa varieties. I can vouch for the fact that the pod planted area rarely if ever sees a watering can - and it is too far away for a hose!
  • Container Plant -  Stipa arundinacea is well suited to growing in containers - high or low. If a high container, then make sure it is stable for the dense foliage will act a s asail in windy weather.
  • Hardy Plants. I have yet to see any Stipa arundinacea damaged by winter weather and some have been planted in very exposed situations.
  • Rock Gardens.  A great plant for sitting atop a rock garden. Put it near a crimson Acer for a great show in the Autumn. the Stipa will have colour long after the acer is de-nuded of its foliage.
  • Trouble Free.  Nothing to worry about for pests or diseases, though the dense cover may make a comfy home for snails. they do not eat the foliage of this grass.
  • Home for Wildlife. I have seen a duck nesting in a clump of Stipa, and birds often take shelter from the cold - as well as having a plentiful supply of nest-building material. It will not be unusual in winter to see birds rummaging about to find a late meal of some insect hidden away.
  • Plant it Forget it!  Not that you will be able to forget it of course. It is a plant that will cheer you up in any season.
  • Easy to propagate from seed or better still from divisions in early spring - as the growth starts.

Go buy a Stipa arundinacea

Stipa Main Page |Stipa tenuissima | Stipa splendens | Stipa gigantea | Stipa calamagrostis |


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