How Fast Does Pampas Grass Grow?
How to Grow Pampas Grass
Pampas grass has made its way onto the invasive weed list in California and Texas, and been completely banned in New Zealand and Hawaii due to its ability to thrive and take over an area. However, many people in other locations use this ornamental grass with large plume-like flowers to decorate their yards, gardens, and pool areas. To grow pampas grass, choose a sunny location with fertile soil, plant young pampas grass plants or seeds, occasionally water, fertilize, and prune your grass, and watch it thrive.
Preparing to Plant
Plant pampas grass in spring.Your grass will need lots of sun, and only a small amount of water, so planting in fall or winter months could hinder your grass’s growth.
- Because pampas grass grows so large, it grows better outside in the lawn or garden, rather than in containers. Due to its size and also the sharpness of its leaves, it does not make a good indoor plant.
Choose a location.You’ll want a spot with plenty of room as pampas grass grows tall as well as spreads wide. Choose an area with full sun to partial shade. Locations receiving at least 6 hours of sunlight daily are best for maximum growth.
- This grass can grow to be over 10 ft (3 m) tall. It makes for an excellent natural fence.
- Do not place pampas grass near roadways or driveways; the tall and bushy grass can interfere with lines of sight.
- The plant should also not be placed too close to central air conditioning units as the long leaves can become caught in the fans.
- Pampas grass leaves have sharp edges, so avoid planting in an area where young children play.
Prepare the soil.Pampas grass grows best in areas with well-drained, fertile soil. Till the soil to aerate it then add an organic compost, peat moss, or manure to help fertilize the grass. Choose a loamy variety to ensure the soil will drain well.
Planting Your Grass
Plant seeds.If you’d like to plant seeds rather than young plants, sow them directly onto the prepared soil. They need light to germinate, so don’t cover them with soil. You can, however, rake the area lightly to prevent the seeds from blowing away or being eaten by birds. Water very lightly to ensure the seeds don’t wash away.
- Seeds take between 20 and 25 days to germinate.
Use young plants.Alternatively, you can plant young pampas grass instead of starting with seeds. Starting with young plants helps your pampas grass establish itself as well as grow quickly. You can find young pampas grass plants at many nurseries, garden shops, and even hardware stores. If you can’t find it locally, order it online.
Dig holes.Using a shovel, dig holes that are three times as wide and three times as deep as the root system on your young pampas grass plant. This will give the roots room to spread and establish themselves. This species grows rapidly, so you’ll need to place holes at least 6 ft (1.8 m) apart if planting multiple clumps of pampas grass.
Spread the roots apart.Use your hands to gently separate the root ball. This will help your roots take hold in the soil as well as absorb moisture more easily.
Place the plant in the hole.Gently position the plant so that it is upright in the middle of the hole. Backfill the dirt around the plant. You can add sand to the soil if your chosen area does not drain well. Gently pat down the dirt or sand to ensure the plant is placed sturdily.
Water deeply and immediately.Give your newly-planted pampas grass lots of water to ensure the soil is seated and that the plant will take root. You should keep the soil evenly moist until your pampas grass has established itself.
Caring for Your Grass
Water sparingly.Pampas grass can thrive in many conditions, and will adapt to its location. You need only water the ornamental grass once every couple of weeks for the first year of growth. Water more frequently during periods of extreme drought. No watering is needed after the plant is well established.
Fertilize the grass.During the first year, fertilize up to three times. After the first year, fertilize only once per year. Use a high-quality garden fertilizer to enhance the beauty of the flowers.
- It may take up to three years for your pampas grass to flower.
Prune established pampas grass.Use trimmers to prune your grass in the late winter or early spring months. You can also tie a piece of rope around the plant, about 4 ft (1.2 m) from the ground and use a power weed trimmer to cut the grass. Remove all the foliage and flower stalks above 12 in (30 cm) in height.
- Be careful and wear long sleeves and gloves when pruning and handling your pampas grass plants as the edges are sharp.
- Cut through the clumps after pruning to divide them. The sliced clump can then be planted elsewhere.
Drain the leaves.Tie the leaves of the grass together with string in November to allow water to drain from the plant. This will prevent shock during the cold months.
Cover the roots.If you live in an area where temperatures dip below freezing, you’ll want to put straw or mulch over the roots of your pampas grass before frost season. Alternatively, you can cover the roots with a fleece wrap.
Keep an eye out for diseases and pests.Luckily, pampas grass is almost entirely disease-free. However, pampas grass can occasionally develop spots. Simply use a fungicide to quickly get rid it. Pampas grass is also rarely eaten by animals, but it can serve as a great habitat for them. Because of this, it’s a good idea to search your pampas grass from time to time to ensure that no unwanted guests are residing inside.
QuestionCan I plant seeds outside in September if I am in a northern climate?
HorticulturistHorticulturistExpert AnswerNo, don't plant your pampas grass seeds in the fall. Planting pampas grass is recommended for the spring.Thanks!
QuestionShould I mow my pampas grass?
HorticulturistHorticulturistExpert AnswerDespite its name, pampas grass should be treated more like a plant than grass. You don't need to mow it, but it's a good idea to prune it instead.Thanks!
QuestionCould I plant a pampas grass in a tall container?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you certainly can. Start it inside the house, in a container large enough to support its weight and height. The bamboo stem is heavy when it gets big and it will grow over 10 feet tall, so bear this in mind when deciding where to place the container and when to shift it outside (if needed).Thanks!
QuestionWhen should I plant if using seeds?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhenever you want, but make sure to plant the seed in a place that sunlight reaches it and give it water daily.Thanks!
QuestionIt is the middle of April and there is no new growth, is this a problem?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerContinue to give it water and make sure there is nothing blocking its access to full sunlight.Thanks!
QuestionCan I plant it in October?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, just make sure to use the right amount of UV light and water to correctly stimulate the growth process.Thanks!
QuestionHow long does it take for pampas grass to grow in the spring?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPampas grass grows quite quickly. If you started with seeds, you should see sprouts within one month. If you started with a young plant, expect it to grow and spread within a few months of planting.Thanks!
QuestionHow does pampas grass spread?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPampas grass spreads by dropping its seeds, which will grow new plants. Pampas grass is a very seedy plant which is why is spreads so much.Thanks!
QuestionIt's the end of June and my Pampas Grass is still brown. How can I tell if it's dead?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry to squeeze water out of it. If some come's out it is alive, if not its dead.Thanks!
QuestionI have a natural creek behind my home. It's fairly dry most of the year but when heavy rains come it will flood. If I plant pampas grass in the creek, will it thrive?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPampas grass does best in well-drained soil. Planting it near a water source will not give this grass the best chance to thrive. Too much water also prevents the plant from flowering, but will instead encourage the foliage to grow. Consider planting it a few yards from the creek bed, instead.Thanks!
Can you get seeds to plant from existing plants?
I just started with pampas grass, and I think I put them too close to one another. Can I move a few now while they're in the early (2 months) stages?
What do I do if my old pampas grass is dried up and seems dead? How do I promote new growth?
I planted my grass last year it did just great but this year I'm yet to see even a sprout. what's wrong?
Can you dye your own seeds for the different colors?
If you want to grow pampas grass, start by planting the seeds in soil and watering them lightly so they don't wash away. Let the grass germinate for 20-25 days, then water it every couple of weeks during the first year. Provide the grass with fertilizer 3 times in the first year and 1 time per year thereafter. When your grass is well-established, prune the foliage and flower stalks with a trimmer.
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