The huge pampas grass is one of the few plants that has such a stunning presence.
The towering ornamental pampas grass, which grows to a height of five to fifteen feet tall depending on the region, gives an appealing, dramatic beauty to any scene and is frequently used as an organic alternative to fences and walls as a garden border.
However, this isn’t the only reason gardeners choose to plant pampas grass in their yards. Pampas Grass (Cortaderia Selloana) is easy to grow in your outdoor space and offers a unique appearance.
Pampas grass is an invasive plant native to South America, and pampas grass takes hold quickly, and so much so that it is banned in some locations such as California, Hawaii, and others.
In our guide, you can learn more about when to plant pampas grass, and how to control it so it grows perfectly. By the end, you’ll be armed with enough information about these ornamental grasses, and how long it will take to grow after planting pampas grass.
Pampas Grass Basics
Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, pink pampas grow in a clumping habit up to 10 feet tall and wide. Pink pampas grass seeds require loose, well-drained, moist soil for germination. Plant the seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last killing frost in spring. (Learn How To Get Bermuda Grass To Spread)
If you live in a harsh frost zone, you’ll need to protect this plant.
However, in moderate regions, this cultivar is known to thrive in full sun (but partial shade is also OK) and well-drained soil. You don’t need to give this grass much water, but you should water it on a regular basis.
One to two times per week is the optimal schedule. It’s also ideal to chop it back annually and clip your grass while it’s dormant if you want to encourage fresh growth.
Plants are fully grown, from seed germination to maturity, in 2-4 years. The center stems of pampas grass will die after one growing season, but new shoots of leaves arise from the edge of the plant to increase its size.
How Fast Does Pampas Grass Grow?
Cortaderia selloana or Pampas grass grows quickly. The plant matures in two to four years and lives for about fifteen years.
Perennial pampas grass produces bulbs in its first year and then goes dormant through the winter to grow again come the spring.
After one growing season, the center clump of the invasive plant dies, but the hardy plant grows afresh when healthy shoots sprout.
Pampas grass is a fast-growing grass and can grow up to 1 inch every day up to 10 ft. The flowers are bright pink, and the leaves are long and feathery. Pampas grass is commonly used to decorate gardens or parks.
How To Grow Pampas Grass
Before planting pampas grass, make sure it has plenty of space to grow. You should space pampas grass plants 6 to 8 feet (2 meters) apart when mass planting them.
Pampas grass prefers at least six hours of full sunlight but will grow in moderate shade. It may grow in a variety of soil conditions but favors moist, well-drained soil.
Another advantage of growing pampas grass is that it can withstand dryness, wind, and salt sprays, which is why ornamental grass is so widespread along coastal regions.
Pampas grass is propagated by early spring division. Pruned clumps can be shoveled through and replanted. Only female plants are normally propagated.
Male and female Pampas grass plumes develop on distinct plants, with females being the most prevalent. They have bigger plumes (flowers) of silk-like hairs, which the males do not have.
Here are the full steps on how to plant this invasive species of ornamental grass.
Step One: Preparation
1. Plant pampas grass in spring:
Because your grass requires full sun and only a little water, planting in the fall or winter months may stifle its growth.
Pampas grass grows better outside in the garden than in containers since it grows so large. In addition, growing pampas grass indoors isn’t ideal because of its size and the sharpness of its leaves. (Find the Best Fertilizer For St Augustine Grass)
2. Choose a location.
Because pampas grass grows tall and spreads broadly, you’ll need plenty of space. Choose a location that receives full or partial sun that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
This grass can reach a height of over 10 feet (3 meters), so it is ideal as natural fencing.
- Avoid planting pampas grass near roads or driveways as the grass might obstruct vision.
- The long leaves of the plant should not be placed too close to central air conditioning equipment, as they can get trapped in the fans.
- Pampas grass leaves have sharp edges, therefore don’t put them near a play place for small children.
3. Prepare the soil.
Pampas grass thrives in areas with fertile, well-drained soil. To help fertilize the grass, till the soil to aerate it, then add organic compost, peat moss, or manure. To ensure that the soil drains, use a loamy type.
Step Two: Planting Grass
You have a couple of ways for growing pampas grass such as seeds or propagation.
1. Plant from seed.
Sow seeds straight into the prepared soil if you choose to plant seeds rather than young plants.
Don’t cover them with soil because as they need full sun to germinate. However, you can gently rake the area to keep the seeds from blowing away or being eaten by birds.
Water lightly to avoid washing the seeds away. It takes 20 to 25 days for seeds to germinate.
2. Use young plants.
Alternatively, instead of starting with seeds, you can plant young pampas grass. Starting with young plants will aid in the establishment and rapid growth of your pampas grass. Many nurseries, garden shops sell young pampas grass plants. Order it online if you can’t locate it locally.
3. Dig to plant.
Dig holes three times as wide and three times as deep as the large clumps of the root system of your young pampas grass plant with a shovel.
This allows the roots to expand and get established. Because pampas grass grows quickly, you’ll need to space your holes at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart if you’re planting many clumps.
4. Spread your roots.
Gently split the root ball with your hands. This will make it easier for your roots to take hold in the soil and absorb moisture.
5. Plant in the hole.
Gently place the plant in the middle of the hole so that it is erect. Backfill the area around the plant with dirt. If the soil in your chosen region does not drain, you can add sand to it. Gently pat the dirt or sand down to ensure the plant is securely in place.
6. Water deeply.
Water your newly planted pampas grass thoroughly to ensure that the soil is seated, and the plant takes root. Until your pampas grass has new growth, keep the fertile soil uniformly moist.
Step Three: Caring for Your Grass
1. Water sparingly.
Pampas grass thrives in a variety of environments and adapts to its surroundings. For the first year of growth, you only need to water the ornamental grass once every couple of weeks. During situations of extreme drought, water more regularly. After new plants have established themselves and reached full maturity, there is no need to water them.
Fertilize up to three times throughout the first year and once a year after that. To make the flowers and white plumes more beautiful, use a high-quality garden fertilizer at full maturity. Your pampas grass growth may take up to three years before it flowers.
3. Prune pampas grass.
Trim your grass with trimmers in the late winter and early spring. Remove all foliage and flower stalks that are taller than 12 inches (30 cm).
Because the edges of your pampas grass plants are sharp, use
long sleeves and gloves when trimming and handling them.
After pruning, cut through the bunches to split them. The divided cluster can then be transplanted to a new location. Be careful with dried pampas grass as it can be a fire hazard.
4. Drain leaves.
In November, tie all the grass leaves together with twine to allow water to drain from the plant. This will keep you warm during the late winter months.
5. Protect your roots.
If you live in a region where temperatures drop below freezing, cover the roots of your pampas grass with straw or mulch before frost season. Alternatively, you can use a fleece shawl to protect the roots.
6. Disease and pests.
When you grow Pampas grass, you’ll discover it’s almost disease-free. Animals rarely consume Pampas grass, although it can provide excellent habitat for them. As a result, it’s a good idea to check your pampas grass from time to time to make sure no unwanted visitors have taken up residence in your garden growth. (Learn About the Fastest Growing Grass Seed)
Is Pampas Grass Toxic?
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Cortaderia selloana is not poisonous to dogs, cats, or horses.
Although most experts caution that consuming any plant might cause undesirable consequences, such as allergic reactions, research reveals that pampas grass is safe.
While the pampas plant is safe for gardeners with children or animals, it’s still a good idea to make sure that kids realize pampas grass isn’t a snack and it can be sharp.
How Can I Get Rid of Pampas Grass?
It takes considerable effort to eradicate pampas grass finally, but it is possible.
Using a post-emergent herbicide is the simplest way. The popular Roundup Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate Plus is highly effective, but any brand that contains Glyphosate and Haloxyfop will do.
You’ll need to cut your grass all the way back before applying the herbicide. Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and gloves to avoid nasty cuts, then hack the grass right down to ground level using a set of heavy-duty shears or, better yet, a decent quality weed cutter.
This has two benefits:
- You can use less herbicide, which is better for other plantings close by in your garden.
- When the grass is cut, it will absorb nutrients, thus increasing the amount of herbicide it will absorb.
Larger plants will require two or three treatments to properly die.
You can either let the grass rot or pluck it up and dispose of it once it’s done.