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Pink Muhley Grass: Cotton Candy in the Garden

Ornamental grass? Yes.

Pink? Yes.

Native? Definitely!

We’ve all seen, and loved, tall ornamental grasses swaying in the breeze. Nevertheless, imagine billowing pink plumes swaying 2-3′ above 3’x5′ ornamental grassy mounds. Doesn’t that conjure a completely different image? Think puffy, soft and dreamy from late summer through fall. What else could you ask for? Muhlenbergia capillaris, although quite a mouthful to say, meets the criteria. Look for variety ‘Regal Mist’ (also known as ‘Lenca’) for the deepest colored plumes.

The best part? It’s easy to grow. Not particular about soil, it grows well in full sun or light shade. Although it’s drought tolerant, regular watering produces a lusher and larger plant. It’s generally evergreen, turning to a tan color in hard winter freezes. Pruning the clump in late winter or early spring encourages attractive new growth. Apply a balanced spring fertilizer or compost in spring.

Perhaps you’re wondering how to use such a beauty? Let’s count the ways…

  1. When not flowering, the green clumps create textured mounds acting as a groundcover or background for other smaller plants. They also soften harsh garden corners or awkward intersections.
  2. As a finely textured grass, plant with contrasting companions such as calla lilies, evergreen shrubs or low growing groundcovers to create interesting contrast.
  3. Plant in front of the larger Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’ for an exquisite coordinating display of colors and textures.
  4. Plant where it will be backlit. It positively glows where it catches the early morning or late afternoon sun.

Do you need another reason to grow Pink Muhley grass? The birds will thank you…they love the seeds!

Western Garden Nursery

2756 Vineyard Ave.
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Phone: 925-462-1760

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10:00am – 4:30pm

Closed Thursday, July 4