Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), invasive grass

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is found in very many ornamental gardens of a certain period, in particular the 70s and 80s, which experienced suburban development, and as a result, we still see it still a lot. Its origin is in the meadows at the edge of the water in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay) but it has unfortunately become naturalized all over the world, especially in the southern hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand , Southern Africa).

This dioecious perennial grass, very hardy (-15°C), forms a generous compact clump of evergreen leaves, arched, stiff, flat, narrow, linear, 2 to 3m long, of a rather glaucous medium green color, with edges often sharp or rough that can cut.

At the end of summer, feathery panicles 40 to 80 cm long develop at the top of robust stems reaching 2 to 3 m. These feather dusters are silver, gold, or even pink depending on the species and persist throughout the winter. Its many seeds therefore have plenty of time to be carried by the wind up to 25km and reproduce: a single plant can provide up to 10 million seeds! You can cut the panicles and dry them upside down to create dry bouquets.

In France, its proliferation can be seen in the coastal gardens of certain coasts (south-west, Brittany) but not throughout the territory. It is part of the invasive alien species (IAS) which have “a negative impact on biodiversity”. Given its invasive nature, it is not recommended to multiply or plant it.

  • Family: Poaceae
  • Type: invasive evergreen perennial
  • Origin: South America
  • Color: silver, gold or pink spikelets
  • Sowing: yes
  • Cutting: no
  • Planting: spring
  • Flowering: September
  • Height: 2.5 to 3 m

Ideal soil and exposure for pampas grass

Pampas grass thrives in full sun in fertile, well-drained soil.

Pampas grass sowing and planting date

Sowing this plant would be aberrant but, given the many spontaneous sowings, they succeed very easily in spring, at 13-18°C. Tussock division in March is the other way of propagating the grass that hardly needs it.

Its planting is planned in the spring.

Pampas Grass Care and Growing Tips

After planting, it is more prudent to protect the stump for at least the first winter.

At the end of winter, clean the foot by removing the stems and dry leaves, but take care to put on gloves to avoid cutting yourself with the sharp leaves. Close pruning of grasses also applies to pampas grass.

Limit the expansion of pampas grass

In areas affected by its proliferation, it will be necessary to:

  • cut the feathery stems before they offer their seeds to the wind;
  • uproot the seedlings, and uproot then destump the clumps, which may require a mechanical shovel as the root system is vigorous.

Diseases, Pests and Parasites of Pampas Grass

Pampas grass knows no pests or diseases.

Location and Favorable Association of Pampas Grass

In regions where there is a wild establishment having an impact on the environment, it should not be cultivated. Elsewhere, it is better to abstain and prefer grasses that are non-invasive and often more graceful and light.

Recommended varieties of pampas grass for planting in the garden

The genus Cortaderia has about twenty species in total but the authentic Pampas grass is Cortaderia selloana , which comes in Cortaderia selloana ‘Albolineata’ with silvery white plumes and white leaf edges, Cortaderia selloana ‘Rentadleri’ with pink plumes purple, Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’ with silvery yellow plumes…

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