Are you looking for the most attractive ornamental grass to improve your landscape design? Look no further than Zebra Grass!
Miscanthus Sinensis’ Zebrinus’, or commonly known as Zebra Grass, is a unique-looking and very popular ornamental grass. This plant got its name thanks to its resemblance to the zebra print. Horizontal cream bands decorate its green foliage.
This ornamental grass stands tall, much like a green sentinel, beautifying your outdoor space throughout summer. Besides its fascinating foliage, Zebra grass also produces silky, slender flowers during the hot season that can last well into winter. Zebra grass dies in winter, but since it is a perennial, it sprouts again as spring starts to settle in.
Zebra Grass is perfect to be combined with more colourful plants as it helps their bright colours stand out. It has a moderate to fast growth rate, and it is best to plant it in spring or fall.
Ready to learn more about how to grow and care for Zebra Grass? Keep reading below!
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About Zebra Grass
- Zebra Grass belongs to the family of Poaceae, a large family of grasses.
- This ornamental grass is native to eastern Asia, especially Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea.
- Zebra Grass’s botanical name is Miscanthus Sinensis’ Zebrinus’ and comes from the Greek “mischos,” which means “stalk,” and the Greek word “anthos” which means “flower.”
- Zebra Grass is also known as Chinese Silver Grass‘ Zebrinus”, Japanese Silver Grass “Zebrinus,” and Zebra-Striped Grass.
- Since it is a highly versatile plant, Zebra Grass can be used as an eye-catching accent plant in any outdoor space. It can also be used in coastal gardens, city gardens, cottage gardens, and planted in borders. It also looks fantastic in fresh or dried floral arrangements, thanks to its fascinating foliage.
- Zebra Grass is sun-loving and needs full sun to grow healthy and happy. If this perennial doesn’t get enough sunlight, its leaf blades tend to get floppy. So, choose a sunny spot in your garden to plant it.
- In terms of soil preferences, Zebra Grass prefers to grow in soil with a roughly neutral pH. It is adaptable to various soil types, including chalk, clay, loam, and sand. It also prefers for the soil to remain constantly moist, especially during its first season.
- After being planted, young Zebra Grass plants need to be watered regularly to get established. Mature plants are considered to be drought-tolerant, meaning that they can survive short periods of drought. Excess water in the soil may lead to root rot.
Zebra Grass Features: An Overview
- Zebra Grass is a perennial clump-forming ornamental grass that features eye-catching variegated foliage. Its plant displays unusual, horizontal, cream or soft yellow rings along its arching leaves.
- This perennial grass can grow up to 7 feet (213 cm) tall and 3-5 feet (90-152 cm) wide. It needs plenty of room to grow due to its rounded, arching mound of foliage.
- In late summer, Zebra Grass produces silvery-white flowers that, in optimal conditions, resist well into winter.
- In fall, the foliage of this ornamental grass turns into a rich gold colour, and in the winter, it dies back.
- Zebra Grass can tolerate both cold weather and hot temperatures really well. However, this ornamental plant prefers to grow in areas with warmer soil temperatures at about 70-90 °F (21-32 °C) and air temperatures even hotter than that.
- Like most other ornamental grasses, Zebra Grass doesn’t pose any danger to humans, and it is also perfectly pet-safe.
- Zebra Grass is resistant to most pests and diseases that usually bother other garden plants. The only risk this ornamental grass is exposed to is getting some foliar rust or minor leaf damage from chewing insects like ants, crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, and earwigs.
- Zebra grass is deer and rabbit resistant.
- There are many low-maintenance plants that make good companions to Zebra grass including Hibiscus, Celosia, Heliopsis, Phlox, Weigela, Sedum Autumn Joy, Echinacea, Aronia, Buddleja, etc.
Growing Zebra Grass
Caring for Zebra Grass is a pretty simple task for both novice and experienced gardeners. This ornamental grass is incredibly resistant to a number of problems, meaning that there are very few things that can go wrong when you care for it.
It can resist drought and most pests and diseases that bother other plants. It is also adaptable to very low or high temperatures. So, when caring for Zebra Grass, all you have to do is to consider its optimal growing conditions, and your ornamental grass will grow healthy and happy in your outdoor space.
First of all, you should keep in mind the grass’s light requirements. Zebra Grass plants need a lot of sunlight to thrive. If kept in full or partial shade, the leaf blades of the plant get sloppy. So, make sure that you plant and keep your Zebra Grass plants in an area of your outdoor space where they get a lot of sunlight.
Another hack you should know about caring for Zebra Grass is that it needs proper feeding to grow healthy and happy. We recommend feeding your Zebra Grass lightly every spring to encourage its growth. It’s best to use a balanced, general-purpose garden fertilizer.
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If you notice that your ornamental grass shows weak growth or the foliage turns into a pale, yellowish colour, you should apply fertilizer one more time. Compost and good organic plant food are also great options for providing Zebra Grass with the necessary nutrients.
Pruning is also necessary to keep your Zebra Grass plants in control. Pruning is required both for the plants’ health and the aesthetics of your yard. For pruning, you should cut the stalks, leaving only 5 or 6 inches sticking up. In late winter or early spring, you should trim off the remaining inches.
If you notice any damaged foliage, remove it immediately to prevent the spread of diseases and to maintain the good aesthetics of the plant.If you live in an area with very cold winters, you can also leave the stalks in place during the cold season instead of cutting them. The dead stalks will act as mulch that protects the plant’s root system from freezing temperatures.
Planting Zebra Grass
Planting Zebra Grass in your outdoor space is just as easy as caring for this ornamental grass. You only have to consider the plant’s main growing requirements when planting it in your garden.
As a general rule, it is recommended to plant Zebra Grass in spring or fall. Yet, if you live in an area with early or severe winter seasons, we recommend planting this ornamental grass in spring to provide the plant with enough time to develop before its first season.
Besides that, you should also consider the plant’s light needs. Remember to choose the sunniest spot in your garden and plant the Zebra Grass there.Also, avoid planting your ornamental grass in an area of your outdoor space that experiences standing water frequently because this may cause the roots to rot.
Considering the plant’s size when reaching maturity, remember to choose a spot of your garden where it has enough room to develop and grow its arching mound of foliage.
Watering Zebra Grass
The water needs of this ornamental grass are also pretty common and shouldn’t give you a hard time.
Young plants require more frequent watering to develop properly. During the first season of growing this plant, you should water it twice or three times every week. This will ensure that the soil is constantly moist.
Zebra Grass is a drought-resistant plant after reaching maturity. So, it won’t die from short periods of drought. However, the plant appreciates and thrives with irrigation during long periods of hot and dry weather.
Keep in mind to avoid overwatering your Zebra Grass because this can lead to root rot and cause the plant to die. It’s best to underwater the plant after it has reached maturity than to overwater it.
Propagating Zebra Grass
If you want to propagate your mature Zebra Grass plants, you can do so in spring by dividing them after the grass blooms. You can also divide the ornamental grass plants after they break dormancy.
After you divide the clumps of Zebra grass, make sure to rinse the plant’s roots and remove the soil so that you can check for damaged or diseased roots. Cut off the bad roots sections before replanting the clumps back into the ground.
Zebra Grass is a very popular ornamental grass, thanks to its eye-catching and unique appearance. It perfectly suits any outdoor space that needs an accent plant. It will cover less aesthetical areas of the garden and beautifully combine with colourful flowers. Plus, it will also attract various birds to your garden, bringing life to your outdoor space.
Caring for Zebra Grass is extremely easy as the plant is resistant to most threats that are usually associated with common garden plants. Zebra Grass is also highly adaptable to various soil types and climates, which significantly improves its planting success rates.
Are you growing Zebra Grass? Share your experience in the comment section!