Dwarf Zebra Grass

26 Aug

Dwarf Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinesis ‘Little Zebra”) winter deciduous, upright to arching growth to 3-4 feet in height with 3 foot spread, M.s. Dwarf Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinesis ‘Little Zebra”) winter deciduous, upright to arching growth to 3-4 feet in height with 3 foot spread, M.s. zebrinus to 6 ft., yellow to gold banded bright green blades, long feathery purple-red panicles in fall, sun to light shade, regular water.

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils from well-drained sandy soils to the heavy clays present in much of the St. Louis area. Prefers moist soils. Best in full sun. Less vigorous with decreased flowering and tendency to flop in too much shade. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. Clumps slowly expand in circumference by short rhizomes, but retain tight clump shape. Foliage should be left standing throughout the winter for visual interest and to provide protection for the crowns. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter just before new shoots appear. Propagate by division of the crown.

Zebra grass (see Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’) is a clump-forming grass noted for its horizontally banded foliage. It typically grows in a substantial clump to 4-6’ tall, but sends up flower stalks to 2’ above the foliage, thus bringing the total height of the grass to 6-8’ tall when in flower.

‘Little Zebra’, sometimes commonly called dwarf zebra grass, is a compact cultivar that typically grows in a clump to 3-4’ tall and to 2-3’ wide. It is noted for its compact size, upright form, horizontally-banded foliage and wine-purple flower plumes. Leaf blades feature, at irregular intervals, distinctive horizontal yellow bands (to 1” in height) that retain good coloration throughout the growing season. Flowers appear in corymbose panicles of 10-13 racemes (each to 6” long) above the foliage in late summer. Tiny flowers emerge gray-purple with the plumes having an overall wine-purple coloration. As seeds begin to form, the flower/seed plumes fade to creamy tan, often providing some winter interest. Foliage fades to tan after frost.

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