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Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan'

Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan'

Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan'

Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus ‘Cosmopolitan’ has fantastic foliage with fresh dark green leaves that bear creamy white edges emerging in late spring. At RHS Garden Hyde Hall we use this tall grass in a mixed planting adjacent to the Modern Rose Garden to add textural height between summer perennials and structure to the border.

Vital statistics

Common name
Silver grass
Family
Poaceae
Height & spread
2m (6ft 8in) high x 1.2m (4ft) wide
Form
Clump-forming perennial
Soil
Moderately fertile, well drained, light soil
Aspect
Full sun
Hardiness
Fully hardy

Miscanthus

This genus of 17 to 20 deciduous or evergreen, tufted or rhizomatous, perennial grasses are from moist meadows and marshland in Africa and east Asia. The reed-like stems bear linear or narrowly lance-shaped, folded, arching, light or mid-green, or blue- or purplish green leaves.

Dense, terminal, arching panicles of silky-hairy spikelets are borne in late summer and autumn. Flowerheads are more numerous following long, hot summers. In many cases, the dying foliage provides russet autumn colours, and is sometimes attractive in winter.

Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan'

Miscanthus sinensis is a deciduous, clump-forming perennial grass with erect stems and mostly basal, flat, erect or arching, linear, blue-green leaves, to 1.2m (4ft) long. Pyramidal panicles of silky-hairy, pale grey spikelets, tinted maroon or purple-brown are produced in autumn, to about 40cm (16in) long.

Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus ‘Cosmopolitan’ is an imposing plant with very broad leaves striped with white on grey stems. In a warm year large pinkish-silver flowers to 2.4m (8ft) are produced. It flowers August to November, with silky copper red tassels, eventually maturing to fawn-colored seed heads.

It makes a good specimen, hedge or screen, and rustles delightfully in the wind.

Cultivation

  • Tolerant of most conditions, but best in moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun
  • Protect from extensive winter wet
  • Cut back to the ground by early spring

Propagation

  • Sow seed in containers in a cold frame in early spring
  • Divide as new growth commences in spring. May be slow to establish

AGM

The RHS Floral Trials subcommittee awarded Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus ‘Cosmopolitan’ an Award of Garden Merit and described it as:

"Flowers October/November. Foliage height 2m (6ft 8in). Flowering stem 2.2m (7ft 4in). More or less evergreen, broad leaved, foliage longitudinally variegated with white/cream stripes. Erect silver flower plumes."

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