Light: Full sun for strong flower stalks.
Size: Including flower spikes, plants are 4 to 5 feet tall. Clumps
get a few inches wider each year; young plants may be 8 inches wide, older
clumps may be 3 feet or more wide.
Plant habit: Deciduous, upright, clump-forming grass. Very vertical
Leaves: Green, arching leaves are 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide. They begin
growing in very early spring. Leaves turn tan in the fall and winter.
Season of bloom: Early summer. Flowers rise above the leaves and
are brownish-purple. Flowers fade to golden yellow. Seed heads persist
and are attractive from summer through the next spring.
Culture: This cool-season grass begins growing in very early spring
and does not go dormant in the summer if grown with moderate water. Will
grow in heavy soils.
Maintenance: Old flowers and leaves are typically removed in late
winter or early spring, just as new growth is evident. If the seed stalks
are left on the plant in the winter, they will provide interesting winter
appearance. Snow loads will cause the seed stalks to bend to the ground,
but most will pop back upright when the snow melts. Flowers are sterile,
so the plant does not reseed.
- Pests/Diseases: Insect- and disease-free.
Other: Attractive vertical form provides a nice contrast to other
perennials. This plant is great for screening. Children enjoy hiding behind
it and peering through its leaves. The Perennial Plant Association selected it as the 2001 Perennial Plant of the Year.