Stipa grass species are used widely in landscaping projects as well as in the garden border. Grown for the foliage as well as the billowing tall flower heads, all silvery green and waving in the wind in summer to autumn.
Most varieties are from Mexico, however they are tolerant of the cold UK winters. They are a better choice than some large growing ornamental grasses such as Pampas Grass, and can be used as specimen clumps in the border, as a low border itself, or grown in containers.
Popular species include: Stipa gigantea, stipa tenuissima, stipa arundinacea, stipa barbata and stipa pennata.
Stipa calamagrostis or 'pheasant grass' is another widely used species. Used widely for the attractive feathery seed heads that are help high above the foliage in summer stipa require a well drained soil and a sunny aspect.
All species require similar care. Cut back hard in spring just before new growth emerges.
These are a fast growing, fully hardy grass, any well drained soil of moderate fertility will be suitable. Full sun is best for all species.
A few questions are asked about Stips varieties being invasive. One of the advantages of the UK climate is that is generally to cold for the seeds to germinate, so in the UK its invasive potential seems minimal. In Spain it could be a problem.
- Stipa gigantea is a tall growing form suitable for the rear of the border. Sometomes called 'Golden Oat Grass' this a drought tolerant plant that can be cut back after flowering.
- Stipa tenuissima will grow to 60 -70cm and again likes a well drained sunny position, also known as 'Golden Oats'.
- Stipa arundinacea is a tough fast growing plant with green foliage.
- Stipa calamagrostis with its feathery plumes prefers full sun and works well in the border providing interest and texture during the summer months.
Stipa varieties are available for sale from the following nurseries
Carrie Thomas tel 01792 522443
Postal Address 4 Clyne Valley Cottages, Killay, Swansea, SA2 7DU
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