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GWAA

The Garden Writers Association


Last Update 06/03/08

Plant of the Month

Cortaderia selloana, Cortaderia argentea

 Pampas Grass, Tussock Grass

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is a large perennial grass native to Brazil, Argentina and Chile. It grows in large clumps eight to ten feet high, bearing in late summer silvery-white or pinkish silken plumes which rise to a height of 12 feet. Pampas grass can be a very attractive and functional plant when used correctly in the landscape. It can be used as a specimen plant in isolated locations on large lawns. Because it grows very rapidly into a massive plant, pampas grass is an excellent screening plant for sunny locations. Most gardeners, however, make the mistake of planting Pampas Grass much too close to the foundation of the house.

Pampas Grass, Tussock Grass, Cortaderia selloana, Cortaderia argentea

Plant Facts:

Common Name:   Pampas Grass, Tussock Grass

Botanical Name:   Cortaderia selloana, Cortaderia argentea

Family:  Poaceae 

Plant Type:  Perennial grass

Origin: Tropical America 

Zones: 7 - 11

Height:  8-12'

Rate of Growth: Fast

Salt Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements:  Sandy, well drained soil

Water Requirements: Drought tolerant

Nutritional Requirements: Complete fertilizer (6-6-6, 8-8-8, or 10-10-10) quarterly

Light Requirements: Full sun

Form:  Spreading tall grass

Leaves:  Stiff, flat, linear, medium green

Flowers: Plume-like silver, gold, or pale rose-rink flower panicles.

Fruits: 

Pests or diseases:  None major

Uses:  Specimen plant, screen. Plumes used in fresh and dried floral arrangements.

Bad Habits: Sharp leaf margins can inflict severe cuts. Mature plumes brought indoors can shed fluff at the slightest breeze or touch. Spreading plants may become invasive by way of rhizome creep or seed dispersal.

Cost:  $$ -- Very reasonable

Propagation:  Seeds or division (divide in spring)

Sources:  American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants

 
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