Pampas grass is known as the king of the ornamental grasses. Native to South America and New Zealand, more than 24 species of the grass exist, which grows from eight to 12 feet in height. The grass features flowering plumes, in a number of colors, at the end of slender green stems.
Because of its height, pampas grass can be used as a windbreak, an accent plant or as screening in a border or large planting. Plant the grass, which can grow in any type of soil, in full or part sun. The flowers range in color from white to pink and bloom in the fall.
Pampas grass is known by many names, including silver pampas grass and Uruguayan pampas grass. There are four common varieties of pampas grass planted today, according to “Taylor's Guide to Ornamental Grasses.” “Andes Silver” features silvery white plumes and tolerates the cold the best of all types of pampas grass; Gold Band, pampas grass with green and gold leaves; Silver Comet, which has leaves striped with white; and purple pampas grass, which has purple plumes.
Dwarf Pampas Grass
Pumila, also known as dwarf pampas grass, grows only to a height of four to six feet, according to “Step-By-Step Ornamental Grasses” by Marsha Jahns. This variety features creamy ivory plumes that are two feet in length and gray green leaves that are up to three feet wide.
All pampas grass species are considered invasive in California, according to the "Gardener's Desk Reference,” by Janet Marinelli. The grass is also considered invasive in South Carolina. Pampas grass was named “Weed of the Week” by the U.S. Forest Service. Gardeners are advised to avoid growing pampas grass in both states.