How to Care for Maiden Grass

Overview

Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) is an ornamental grass with a fine-textured, graceful appearance. In late summer, the clump of maiden grass blooms with pale pink flowers and the silvery plumes bend and sway in the wind through fall and into the winter months, giving the popular grass its other names: Japanese silver grass or Chinese silver grass. Maiden grass can grow to heights of 4 to 8 feet and can have a 6-foot span at maturity.

Step 1

Give maiden grass at least an inch of water per week for its first year. Water by allowing a hose to drip slowly at the base of the plant. After the first year, normal rainfall will provide adequate moisture.

Step 2

Fertilize maiden grass every spring, using a balanced timed-release fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer to the maiden grass according to the manufacturer's directions.

Step 3

Spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the base of the maiden grass every fall, using an organic mulch such as pine needles, chopped leaves or bark chips. Mulch protects the roots from freezing during the winter and adds nutrients to the soil.

Step 4

Leave the foliage at the end of the growing season to add interest to the landscape all winter. In spring, use garden pruners to cut the clump of maiden grass to 8 inches above the ground. The maiden grass will rejuvenate and grow back quickly.

Step 5

Divide the maiden grass every three to four years. Dig up the entire plant with the root ball, and then cut the clump in half with a shovel. If desired, cut each clump in half again. Dispose of any old, unproductive areas, and replant the clumps in full sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Timed-release fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Garden pruners
  • Shovel

References

  • Ohio State University: Miscanthus sinensis
  • University of Florida: Miscanthus sinensis "Silverbell" Japanese Silver Grass
  • Walter Reeves: Maiden Grass
Keywords: maiden grass, ornamental grass, Japanese silver grass, Chinese silver grass

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.