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CORTADERIA selloana 'Pumila'

Image of Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila'

James Burghardt

Family

Poaceae

Botanical Name

CORTADERIA selloana 'Pumila'

Plant Common Name

Pampas Grass

General Description

Pampas grass is named for the vast grassy plains of its native habitat, Pampas, Argentina.

The cultivar ‘Pumila’ is a vigorous dwarf selection. Still, it is a substantial clump-forming ornamental perennial grass. Its soft green leaves are folded and gradually taper. The blade edges are truly blade-like; they are toothed, very sharp and can cause lacerations from even the slightest touch. The most impressive feature of pampas grass is its large, fluffy floral plumes that appear atop long stiff stalks above the foliage. Male and female flowers appear on separate plants. The female flowers are more visually desirable because they have long, silky silver-yellow hairs. When dry they turn a lovely straw color and persist for a long period of time.

This tough grass is very drought tolerant but prefers occasional supplemental water in the driest weather. It can also withstand salt spray, so it’s ideal for Oceanside locations. Full sun and well-drained soil are necessary for good health.

Pampas grass produces a large number of brown leaves in the clump. Many recommend shearing it to the ground each year, however this is very traumatic to the plant and not all clumps survive this practice. It’s better to remove only the dead leaves that can be pulled free with a rake.

Plant pampas grass for screening, in shrub and mixed borders or as an accent plant. One caveat to planting it is that it has escaped from cultivation and is considered an invasive species in some areas.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Grass

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m (5)

  • Width

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m (5)

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    South America, Argentina

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Salt, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Yellow, Silver

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Dried Flower/Everlasting, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes