Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is an ornamental grass that produces large plumes of white or pink flowers that measure more than 1 foot in length. It can grow to a height of 12 feet and a width of 6 feet. Pampas grass offers excellent durability and hardiness as well as ease of care for the home gardener. The grass grows well in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10. Numerous cultivars are available, and a few offer more cold hardiness for locations that endure extreme winters. The grass is commonly planted as a singular garden specimen or in huge groups to form a shield, screen or fence. A few states consider pampas grass to be highly invasive.
Plant pampas grass in a location that offers full sunlight. Pampas grass grows in partial shade, but its growth will likely be severely slowed and flower plume production will suffer.
Choose well-draining soil that is slightly loamy. Pampas grass grows in a wide range of soil. It can withstand floods and standing water for short stretches of time.
Mix aged manure and peat moss into the soil prior to planting pampas grass. The soil should feel crumbly to the touch when properly mixed.
Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the base of the pampas grass. The mulch helps to shade the grass's roots during summer heat, keep the soil moist and keep weed growth down.
Water pampas grass regularly until established. The grass enjoys moist soil. Once established it will easily withstand even severe times of drought.
Apply aged manure around the base of pampas grass each spring. Pampas grass does not require abundant fertilizer and seems to thrive on lack of any fertilizing, but it does enjoy a bit of aged manure or other compost in the spring.
Cut pampas grass back in the winter if your region is cold. Pampas grass goes dormant in cold weather. In warm areas, pampas grass never goes dormant and does not require trimming. Remove any dead leaves and rake around the grass to keep the appearance nice.
Divide pampas grass every few years. Simply dig the root system up and cut large chunks away. The chunks can easily be transplanted in a new location.