© RHS / Tim Sandall

Introducing...

Miscanthus

Common name: Eulalia, elephant grass

Miscanthus are reliable grasses that provide interest over a long period. Fountains of foliage grow up in early summer and bear plumes of white or pink flowers in late summer. As winter approaches these bleach into shades of biscuity brown. Tall cultivars suit the back of borders and smaller cultivars mingle well in beds with plants with bold, colourful flowers.

Looks

Mounds of arching green leaves, sometimes striped, develop warm orange or red tints in autumn. Stems carry a haze of feathery flowers in late summer to autumn. Flowers can be white or pink. Some cultivars have bands of horizontally or longitudinal striped leaves in creamy-white or yellow. There are cultivars that flower at over 1.8m (6ft) in height, but equally, there are much smaller cultivars little more than 60cm (2ft) tall.

Likes

Miscanthus thrive most soil types, coping better than many other ornamental grasses on heavy soils.
For the best flowering results, plant in full sun. Light shade is tolerated but may inhibit a good flower display. Smaller varieties can be grown in containers with ease.

Dislikes

Very wet soil can cause plants to rot off over winter. Forms with variegated leaves can scorch in hot sunshine, so make sure these are in light shade in summer.

Did you know?

Flowering is best in a hot summer. There are several Miscanthus species, but most cultivars in our gardens are from the species, Miscanthus sinensis.

Growing guide

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Miscanthus by colour

Miscanthus by height

Miscanthus we recommend

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Useful advice

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Gravel gardens

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Ornamental grasses: selection

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Shade planting: annuals, bulbs and perennials

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