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How to Care for Ribbon Grass

ornamental grass image by Edsweb from

Ribbon grass, also called canary grass or gardener’s garters, is a clump growing ornamental grass that reaches a height up to 36 inches. This perennial grass is variegated in color with a white stripe down the edges of each blade. Ribbon grass is hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 4 through 9 and will over winter in freezing climates. The grass will grow quickly in a nutrient rich soil that is given adequate moisture and requires propagation through division every 5 years.

Select a planting location that offers a well draining, moist soil and full sun to partial shade conditions. Ribbon grass will grow in shade; however it grows and spreads much slower.

Prepare the planting location by working 2 to 3 inches of organic compost into the soil with a shovel or tiller to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Plant ribbon grass by digging a hole the same depth as the root ball and slightly wider. Remove the plant from the container and gently loosen the roots. Fill the hole with water and set the plant into the hole. Gently pack soil around the root ball.

Water the grass generously after planting. Continue to water the plant throughout the growing season to keep the soil moist as this will stimulate the grass to grow and spread. Cut back on watering the grass once the desired size has been reached.

Fertilize ribbon grass with a general purpose fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Water the grass well after applying fertilizer to assist with absorption into the plant and soil.

Apply mulch around the grass clumps to prevent weed growth around the plant and assist with moisture retention. The clumps of grass should be thick enough to prevent weeds from invading the grass.

Propagate ribbon grass by digging the entire clump and dividing it into smaller sections that include both roots and grass foliage. Replant at the same depth it was growing. The best time to divide ribbon grass is midspring through midsummer.

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