Pampas Grass - When and How to Use the Pampas Grass in Your Garden

Posted by hasnainkhan on April 17th, 2021


The danger originates from the leaves of the Pampas grass. They're serrated across the edge, making them as sharp as a carpenter's saw. In fact the plant's botanical name, Cortaderia, originates from the Spanish word cortar, "to cut". That is why Pampas pampas grass largegrass shouldn't be planted where children will probably run about and play, nor near paths and entrance ways. Considering that it could cover some 2 meters in width, it can only be considered as an option in the garden, when granted a lot of space.

Another serious problem connected with Cortaderia is its potential to spread as an uncontrollable weed, so much in order that some plant nurseries in the US have stopped propagating the species altogether. The chance only arises though when male and female plants should be within each others proximity. In Israel, where I result from, we don't have this problem, as the plants are propagated vegetatively, from female specimens only.

Design considerations

The Pampas grass, as well as its massive plumes, can reach a height of 3-5 meters, spreading outwards from its base to create a big clump some 1-2 meters wide. The blooms, specially the female ones, are particularly beautiful. Clearly, the role of the plant is that of a focal point. In this regard, general design knowledge and good taste enter into play. As the dominant element in a composition, it should not have to compete for attention with other eye catching elements like flower beds, sculptural plants, or species with unusually colored foliage.

As a grass, it obviously associates well with other ornamental grass-like plants. Indeed a complete composition could be built around the Pampas because the centerpiece, supported by grasses that reach about a meter in height like varieties of Miscanthus and Pennisetum setaceum, while a carpet is constructed of low growing plants of similar form and habit, such as for example Carex, Festuca, Liriope, and Ophiopogon japonicum.

Cortaderia is highly suited to gardening in a dry climate where water reaches a premium. It can get by pretty well with modest additions through the dry months, requiring perhaps some 300mm on the year. Planted in a big bed of ornamental pebbles, it can create a stunning focal point, while the total water consumption of the bed all together, could actually be significantly less than 200mm per year. (200 liters per meter square)

Care and maintenance

The tendency of the Pampas grass to dry at its base, coupled with the difficulties gardeners have in cutting out dead elements of the plant, is another factor behind the reluctance to utilize the plant. However, that is another stumbling block that may be handled relative ease. The clump should simply be decrease to the bottom every 2-3 years, by way of a hedge trimmer, or mechanical strimmer. (Weed whacker) The work is best completed towards the end of the winter.

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Joined: September 14th, 2020
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