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Japanese Silver Grass

Japanese Silver Grass – Miscanthus sinensis – is a perennial plant that has variegated green and white striped leaves and huge plumes in the fall that stall well above the top of the plant.
Silver grass. Amazing focal plant. Mine grew 9 feet in one season.

I planted a small Japanese Silver Grass plant in my front bed last spring. I knew it would get fairly large so I wanted it to be a focal point at one end of the bed.

The plant did well last year, but this year it is just fabulous.  It is an easy care plant and all I have really had to do it make sure to cut it back in the fall so that I could keep it somewhat contained.

Japanese Silver Grass makes a Great Focal Plant

If you are looking for a large plant that is easy to grow and yet very striking, Japanese silver grass is the plant for you.

How to grow:

  • Grows quickly and get up to 6-10 feet tall
  • Perennial in zones 3-9
  • Has interesting wheat like flower stalks in late summer (will self seed readily so you may want to remove these)
  • Likes full sun and well drained soil.
  • Even moisture (although I have not really done a lot of watering of my front border and mine is lovely)
  • Cut back in the spring before new shoots develop
  • When the center of the plant starts to look less full, dig up and divide with a sharp knife to give you more plants
  • Can be used as a hedge if planted about 4 feet apart and does a great job of hiding fences.

Japanese silver Grass

This is my front bed showing a large butterfly bush on one end and the Japanese Silver Grass on the other. 

Front garden bedThe plant is nicely striped now, but a few months ago when it started growing this year, it as mainly green:

japanese silverI will add another picture later in the summer when it flowers!

Update:  September 13, 2013.  The silver grass has outdone itself this year!  It is about 9 feet tall and just covered in flurry grass like tufts.

End of the summer

The plant is about 5 feet wide now.  Make a lovely focus on one side of the garden bed.  It was so easy care. Got very little water other than natural rain and has been beautiful all summer.grassy tufts

There are dozens of these wheat like sprigs at the top now.close up of grass shaftsHere is a close up of the blossom.

It is hard to believe that I cut this to the ground last fall and it has managed to reach this size again in one season.  I will be doing the same thing this fall.

If  you are looking for a large focal plant, silver grass can’t be beat.

Update:  my Japanese silver grass got so large this year, it overgrew the space I had for it in my front garden bed.  My husband and I dug it up and made 6 divisions of it.  After a month of rooting in pots, I planted it along the fence line in my back garden to hide my neighbor’s yard, which can be unsightly at times.

Japanese silver grass on the fenceline.It took well and is quite large now.  Next year, the neighbor’s yard won’t be visible at all!

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Tuesday 13th of October 2020

I planted this in the center of 2 huge pots on our front porch in Spring with flowers around the edges. It is now very tall and has the fronds on both plants. I am considering cutting them back after Halloween and wondering if they will continue to live over the winter months in zone 6a in Missouri. I am a novice gardener and appreciate any help you can offer.

Carol Speake

Thursday 15th of October 2020

Japanese silver grass is hardy to zone 3 so it should grow back after the winter in your zone.

Alphonse J sevigny

Thursday 10th of October 2019

Is it legal to plant japanese silver grass near a river (Powow River Amesbury Mass) knowing that will transfer plant life to other areas near or below that area. AS you know Massachusetts has problems with this plant in other areas.

Carol Speake

Friday 11th of October 2019

I don't know if this is legal or not. I would suggest getting in touch with the Powow River Amesbury Mass authority.

Alphonse J sevigny

Thursday 1st of August 2019



Thursday 1st of August 2019

I have no idea but your local Massachusetts department of agriculture should be able to answer this question.

Elizabeth Menard

Tuesday 24th of October 2017

Can you tell me when is the best time of year to plant Japanese silver grass? Im in central Indiana.

Thank you!


Tuesday 24th of October 2017

Hi Elizabeth. Spring is the best time to plant it, but I have also divided and planted it in late summer, early fall with success. It does go dormant in the winter months. Carol


Saturday 14th of September 2013

This looks perfect for opposite a side window where I need something to lessen the visual impact of the neighbour's house. I am in New Zealand so it may not be marketed under that name here. Do you happen to know the latin name at all please?


Saturday 14th of September 2013

Hi Lynne. The plant is called Miscanthus sinensis.

I've added this to the article.


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