How to Care for Dwarf Pampas Grass

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The white plumes of the dwarf pampas grass appear in late summer.
The white plumes of the dwarf pampas grass appear in late summer. (Image: Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Dwarf pampas grass -- Cortaderia selloana Pumila -- is an ornamental grass. On average it grows 3 to 6 feet tall, which is smaller than the full size pampas grass plant. Aside from being smaller, it is also more cold-hardy that its larger cousin. Dwarf pampas grass is tolerant to U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones as low as 6. The plant has gray-green leaves with serrated edges. It blooms with a silvery white plumes in the late summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Garden rake
  • Mulch
  • Head shears
  • Gardening gloves
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer

Pour a 2-inch deep layer of organic matter around the bottom of the dwarf pampas grass plant at the start of the growing season. Use a small garden rake to work this into the soil around the base of the plant. Rub the rake back and forth, mixing the compost with the top 3 inches of soil. The addition of compost will help the soil hold moisture and nutrients.

Lay down a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant. This will help keep the soil moist, especially on sunny days.

Cut all of the foliage from the plant in early spring. Use a pair of sharp hedge shears to cut the plant down to the ground. Wear a thick pair of gardening gloves and long sleeves to avoid being cut by the plant. Tie a string around the plant approximately four feet from the ground. Remove all foliage above 12-inches in height. The string keeps the cutting together for quicker disposal.

Divide pampas grass clumps once pruning is complete. Dig up the plant carefully using a shovel. Divide the roots into several new plants and replant immediatley.

Fertilize the plant in the early spring with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Dwarf pampas grasses require fertilization three times during the first year. Preferably March, May and September. Fertilize once a year in March, starting the second year.

Examine the plant for aphids or mites. These pests are small, but will often be found in large numbers on the foliage of the plant. If you notice any of these pests, use a stream of water to remove them.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may choose to plant dwarf pampas grass to control erosion, as a specimen plant or as a privacy screen.
  • Gardeners with young children should be careful planting dwarf pampas grass, as children who fall into the grass could be cut by the sharp blades of the grass.

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