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CORTADERIA selloana

Image of Cortaderia selloana

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Poaceae

Botanical Name

CORTADERIA selloana

Plant Common Name

Pampas Grass

General Description

One of the signature plants of the Pampas of Argentina, this immense, clumping, highly ornamental evergreen grass is grown and has naturalized throughout the milder climatic regions of the world. It is valued primarily for its spectacular, fluffy, silvery heads of male or female flowers, which are held high above the foliage atop lofty stalks in late summer and autumn. Female plants have showier, silky-haired flowers and are more desirable. The ornamental seed heads dry to a lovely straw color and persist well into winter. The long, folded, fountaining leaves are attractive year-round. Numerous cultivars are available, including the variegated Sun Stripe and 'Splendid Star', the dwarf 'Pumila', and the pink-flowered 'Carminea Rendatleri'.

This drought- and salt-tolerant grass prefers full sun, well-drained soil, and occasional watering during extended dry spells. Remove brown dead leaves with a rake: the often recommended practice of shearing the clump to the ground can damage or kill the plant. Mass it as a screen or windbreak, or use it as a specimen or border plant. Place it where its rough, sharp leaf edges do not pose a risk to passersby. Pampas grass has escaped cultivation and is considered an invasive species in some locations.

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

    8'-15' / 2.4m - 4.6m (10)

  • Width

    5'-10' / 1.5m - 3.0m (8)

  • 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, Silver

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

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

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes