Pampas Grass or Cortaderia Selloana
Pampas Grass or Cortaderia Selloana About Facts & How to Grow
Pampas Grass or Cortaderia selloana is an ornamental grass which will add colour and beauty to any garden or landscaping. The plant will produce flowers from late summer and through to autumn. They are very easy to grow, however, it is an invasive plant that grows to a height of 5-10 feet.
Pampas grass is found in abundance in South America and has long sharp edged leaves. The cream or silver coloured inflorescence is large and feathery and appears on an unbranched stem. There are hermaphrodite as well as separate female plants. Only the female flower has silky hairs. The height reaches more than 6 meters when the plant flowers. The female plants are able to produce about 100,000 seeds per flower stem.
The Life Cycle of the Plant
The seeds of the plant germinate during spring and start producing tillers and rhizomes during the first year of growth. Flowering is rare in the first season. During winter, the plant becomes semi-dormant and resumes growth during spring. Flowers are produced after a number of years and in drier climates, it might take more time to flower. Flowering occurs during late summer. The hermaphrodite plants will only produce pollen for fertilising the female plants. New tillers can develop from the rhizome of the mother plant and this helps the plant to spread. Usually female plants produce the seeds for dispersal.
The Growing Condition
Pampas Grass grows well in both wet and dry areas. They are usually found in swamp areas near the water course or in seepage areas. They can grow well in semi-arid or sub-tropical regions with moderate humidity and damp soil. They prefer full or partial sun and moist, well-drained soil. It can withstand any adverse conditions like drought, salt sprays, wind, etc. This grass cannot grow well in real cold winter conditions until it is established.
How to Grow in the Garden?
You can opt to plant this grass in your garden if you have plenty of space for them to grow. You need to plant them at a distance of 6-8 feet apart, if you want to plant more than one plant. Propagation is done through division and planting of the pruned clumps. Female plants are generally used for propagation.
Cortaderia selloana is a plant that requires the least maintenance. You can remove plumes of the plant just before the start of the spring growth. During extreme drought, you may need to water the plant. Pruning the plant near to the ground every year is necessary to maintain the plant. Pruning is done either in late winter or during the early spring. You can also try burning down the foliage till the green growth at the base of the stem, if the plants are at a safe distance from the buildings.
The Beneficial Use
Though many consider this plant as an environmental weed, there are many beneficial uses as well. The young plants have been used as stock feed and for soil erosion control. However, this plant precludes other plant growth and creates a fire hazard if the growth is not controlled by proper control and removal methods. It can be grown as borders in the garden or in landscapes.