Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is a clumping grass often used to create windbreaks and hedges. This attractive ornamental also makes a nice specimen plant both alone and when grouped. Pampas grass is typically grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, but some cultivars can be grown as far north as USDA zone 5b. The weather conditions in central Florida are a perfect match for pampas grass, which thrives in lots of warmth and sun while tolerating both salt and drought very well. The plant has no major problems with pests or diseases, requires very little care and is a good choice for seasoned and new gardeners alike.
Things You'll Need
- Garden hose
- 8-8-8 granular fertilizer
- Tape measure
- Measuring cup
- Pruning shears
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Long pants
Water established plants deeply every four to six weeks. Young plants are not as drought tolerant and need watered as often as required to keep the soil around them moist at all times. Exactly how often young plants need water will vary based on weather conditions and soil type, so check soil moisture several times a week.
Fertilize pampas grass growing in Florida each year in March, June and August with a balanced 8-8-8 fertilizer. Measure the diameter of the pampas grass clump and apply 1 cup of granular fertilizer per foot of diameter of the clump of grass.
Cut all of the grass shoots back to a height of 12 to 18 inches in January or February using pruning shears. Remove any weak stems and spent flowers during this renewal pruning.
Divide your pampas grass clumps in the spring using a shovel if they begin to thin out and develop unattractive open centers. The smaller divided plants can then be replanted or given away if you find yourself with more plants than you need.
Tips & Warnings
- Always wear gloves, pants and long sleeves when working with pampas grass to avoid being cut by the jagged grass blades.
- Orlando Sentinel: Plant Profile -- Pampas Grass
- Orlando Sentinel: Hardy Pampas Grass Deals With Florida's Dry Times
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Cortaderia Selloana -- Pampas Grass
- Floridata: Cortaderia Selloana
- San Marcos Growers: Cortaderia Selloana "Pumila" - Dwarf Pampas Grass
- San Marcos Growers: Irrigation Practices
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Ornamental Grasses for North Carolina
- Brevard County Horticultural Extension: Ornamental Grasses
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