Gracillimus Maiden Grass Info – What Is Gracillimus Maiden Grass

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What is Gracillimus maiden grass? Native to Korea, Japan, and China, Gracillimus maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’) is a tall ornamental grass with narrow, arching leaves that bow gracefully in the breeze. Interested in growing Gracillimus grass? Read on for tips and information.

Gracillimus Maiden Grass Info

Maiden grass ‘Gracillimus’ displays narrow green leaves with silvery strips running down the center. The leaves turn yellow after the first frost, fading to tan or beige in northern regions, or rich gold or orange in warmer climates.

Reddish-copper or pinkish flowers bloom in fall, turning to silvery or pinkish-white plumes as the seeds mature. The leaves and plumes continue to provide interest throughout the winter.

Gracillimus maiden grass is suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. It’s important to note that this plant reseeds itself generously in mild climates and may become somewhat aggressive in some areas.

How to Grow Gracillimus Maiden Grass

Growing Gracillimus maiden grass isn’t much different than that of any other maiden grass plant. Gracillimus maiden grass grows in nearly any type of well-drained soil. However, it performs best in moist, moderately fertile conditions. Plant Gracillimus maiden grass in full sunlight; it tends to flop over in shade.

Caring for Gracillimus maiden grass is relatively uninvolved. Keep newly planted maiden grass moist until the plant is established. Thereafter, Gracillimus maiden grass is drought tolerant and needs supplemental water only occasionally during hot, dry weather.

Too much fertilizer may weaken the plant and cause it to fall over. Limit feeding to ¼ to ½ cup (60 to 120 mL.) of general purpose fertilizer before new growth appears in early spring.

To encourage healthy new growth, cut Gracillimus maiden grass down to about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm.) in late winter or before new growth appears in early spring.

Divide Gracillimus maiden grass every three to four years or whenever the center of the plant begins to die back. The best time for this is after spring pruning.

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Read more about Maiden Grass

Plants→Miscanthus→Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus')

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit:Grass/Grass-like
Life cycle:Perennial
Sun Requirements:Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness:Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone:Zone 9b
Plant Height :4 - 6 feet
Plant Spread :3 - 6 feet
Leaves:Good fall color
Flower Color:Other: Reddish copper maturing to silvery white
Flower Time:Late summer or early fall
Late fall or early winter
Inflorescence Height :To 8 feet
Uses:Erosion control
Dried Flower
Wildlife Attractant:Birds
Resistances:Drought tolerant
Propagation: Other methods:Division

I have this grass in full sun as well as part sun, and it seems to do fine in either location. I got one as a tiny mail-order, and it was a huge clump by the second year, just as big as the one I got as a gallon.

It also seems to do fine in heavy wet clay as well as highly amended soil. The only spot where it suffered was in unamended, dry, hardpan clay with half sun.

This grass does give 4-season interest. The fall color is especially pretty. There's only a one-month period after it's been cut down in early spring that it looks bare.

I first discovered this species and cultivar in the early 1990's in the Chicago, Illinois area. It is probably the most commonly used cultivar of the species. It is of medium size that gets about 5 feet high with the foliage and another foot higher to 6 feet with the flowers. Its blades are thin with a whitish line in the middle. It is easier to work with than several larger cultivars as 'Strictus, Silver Feather, or Variegata' that are difficult to dig up and reset. Like other Miscanthus its stems grow very thick together and in about 5 to 10 years the middle of the clump dies out and it must be dug up and reset. Unfortunately, I think this cultivar is the one that seeds itself into the wild better than most, where it has become an invasive east Asian plant in meadows and waste places in the USA.

Germination of Japanese Silver Grass is pretty fast. If they're sown on the surface of a moist, fertile mix, it'll usually occur within two weeks. Keeping them covered, ideally in a greenhouse or similar, for their first winter is recommended.

They can then be transplanted to their permanent position in late spring or summer. Be aware that Japanese Silver Grass takes a full year before any flowering will be seen.

When you plant them out, make sure you allow enough space as these wide-clump-forming species can take up a decent amount of ground. The space needed will vary depending on the mature size of the cultivar you have selected.

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