Care of Pampas Grass


The graceful plumes of pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) make a dramatic addition to the landscape. The fountain-like blades and dramatic plumes set pampas grass apart from garden shrubs and flowers, so it's often used as a single specimen plant or in rows to mark boundaries. Ornamental pampas grass thrives in a variety of conditions, but prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Proper maintenance will keep the grass looking beautiful for many years.

Step 1

Water pampas grass seedlings well the first year to establish a strong root system. Established plants need additional water only during prolonged dry spells.

Step 2

Mulch around the base of the grass to reduce weeds.

Step 3

Feed pampas grass in the spring with about 1/4 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can lead to drooping stalks.

Step 4

Cut back the plant within 4 to 6 inches of the ground in late winter or in spring before new growth emerges. This will allow sunlight to reach the center of the plant and encourage faster spring growth.

Step 5

Divide the plants when they begin to die out in the middle. Use a sharp shovel to drive straight down into the clump, into the ground, then dig around the plant to separate the clump.

Tips and Warnings

  • The blades of pampas grass can be sharp. Wear long pants, long sleeves and gloves when trimming back or dividing the plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Knife or garden shears
  • Shovel


  • University of Illinois: Ornamental Grass
  • University of Georgia: Ornamental Grasses for Georgia Gardens

Who Can Help

  • North Carolina State University: Pampas Grass
Keywords: pampas grass, ornamental grass, grass plumes

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.