Pink Muhly Grass

This native plant provides a soft, billowy appeal

I first came across Pink Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) while I was working for a regional native plant grower (Hill House Farm & Nursery). This is the place I not only learned a great deal about native plants, but found a true passion for them. But Pink Muhly grass really grabbed and held my attention. With the delicate, soft texture with blooms in the late summer, what is there not to like? Ever since I discovered this hardy, ornamental grass, I have been plotting ways to incorporate it into my own landscape.

If you want a low-maintenance plant which attracts wildlife and is good for the environment, then pink muhly grass is an option for you. Just picture this…a hillside with pink blooms swaying in the wind in the late summer or early fall; it is truly stunning in landscapes.

Characteristics

  • This grass does well in zones 7 through 10 (we are located in 7b).
  • Offers four season appeal and is perfect to use as a stand alone plant or in mass plantings (a sunny hillside is perfect for this arrangement).
  • This fast grower provides beautiful green grass blades which blow gracefully in the wind, especially in the spring and summer months.
  • Soft plumes of pinkish flowers grow and add to the appeal of this grass in late summer.
  • Although this grass doesn’t provide showy fall color, you won’t need it, as the pink plumes which appear in late summer, early fall are absolutely stunning – and good for the birds to dine on too.
  • In the winter, the brownish leaves and plumes (if you don’t prune them and leave them intact) will provide a softness to the drab winter landscape.
  • Although it is tolerant of a variety of soils, it will require moderate moisture until it is established. Rain gardens are an ideal spot for this plant, as are wet areas in your yard that tend to stay moist for several days after it rains, but are dry at other times.
  • This plant will grow to approximately three feet tall and have a similar spread (width).
  • The grass grows in a clump form, may be divided, and provides an ideal habitat for some types of wildlife.
  • This is a perennial (which means it will come back each year) plant, so once you plant it it will keep coming back as long as it lives.

Maintenance

  • Requires full to partial sun exposure for optimal growing conditions and color display.
  • Cut the foliage back to the ground in early spring, before the new growth of the season begins. You may also divide the clumps to create additional plants, but for best results this is a task to perform in spring, prior to new growth beginning, or in late fall before the ground freezes.
  • This ornamental grass will tolerate a moderate drought, once the plant has been established. Although it is considered drought tolerant, the overall visual appearance of the plant will be better if you water it periodically during dry periods.
Debbie Eisele
About Debbie Eisele 60 Articles
Debbie Eisele is a freelance writer and the Community Outreach Coordinator for Hero’s Bridge, a nonprofit serving older veterans. She lives in Warrenton with her husband and twin daughters.

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