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.
The plant can be used to hide neighboring views and completely cover a chain link fence. It also has lots of winter interest.
Plant it as a barrier to the rest of your yard to hide a meditation garden from prying eyes.
Be sure to give Japanese silver grass room to grow. A plant can grow as much as 14 feet tall in one season!
Keep reading to learn how to grow and care for this lovely grass perennial.
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.
Size of Japanese silver grass
Give this perennial room to grow. It multiplies quickly and get up to 6-10 feet tall. I have it planted along an entire fence line with each plant about 5 feet apart.
Hardiness of silver grass
This is a tough perennial that will grow in many temperatures. It is cold hardy in zones 3-9.
Sunlight and watering needs for Japanese silver grass
This perennial likes full sun and well draining soil. Although it will grow in partial shade, the variegation will change to plain green leaves without sufficient sunlight.
Give silver grass even moisture for best results. Too much water will make mature plants top heavy. It is tough and can survive with mimimal moisture except on the hottest days.
I have not really done a lot of watering of my front border and mine is lovely.
The plant has interesting wheat like flower stalks in late summer. It will self seed readily so you may want to remove these if you don’t want the plant to multiply.
To me, the stalks are one of the prettiest parts of the plant!
Pruning Japanese silver grass
It is important to prune shrubs like Japanese silver grass before the growing season starts.
Cut back the plant about 6 inches from the ground in the spring before new shoots develop. It will fill in very quickly.
When the center of the plant starts to look less full, dig up and divide with a sharp knife to give you more plants.
Uses for Japanese silver grass
The plant can be used as a hedge if planted about 4 feet apart and does a great job of hiding fences.
This is my front bed showing a large butterfly bush on one end and the Japanese Silver Grass on the other.
The plant is nicely striped now, but a few months ago when it started growing this year, it as mainly green:
I 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.
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.
There are dozens of these wheat like sprigs at the top now.Here 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.
It took well and is quite large now. Next year, the neighbor’s yard won’t be visible at all!