I Love Nassella tenuissima aka Mexican feathergrass

Jun 25, 2021 | Love This!

Name: Nassella tenuissima aka Mexican feathergrass, formerly known as Stipa tenuissima.

Type of Plant: This is a very soft, fine textured low grass that is perennial in a warm Zone 7 but considered an annual elsewhere. This plant grows to about 20 inches tall and wide, and even larger when it survives the winter. In the spring this plant is green, but the flowers are light tan from June on.

Why I Love/Hate this plant: Until recently, this grass has been an annual on Cape Cod. But it’s lived for me over the past two winters, even if we’re not in a truly warm zone 7 here. Yet even as an annual I love this plant for the way it moves in a breeze and contrasts with larger leaves and flowers.

This grass is beautiful in containers or gardens.

A Word to the Wise: Plant this in full sun where the soil is well drained. I suspect that one reason that my plants have lived through the winter is that they are near big rocks that absorb the heat of the sun during the day…this undoubtedly keeps the soil warmer in that area.  Note: in California this plant has been identified as potentially invasive. Not on Cape Cod, however, so enjoy!

This is how Nassella tenuissima looks in my gardens right now, at the end of June. The stems are green and the flowers are a creamy tan. See how nicely the fine texture compliments and contrasts with the Early Bird Cardinal daylilies and the sage?

This is how a first-year Mexican feathergrass plant looked in mid-July. Not as thick but worth growing nevertheless! If you’re planting these as an annual, place them about 12″ apart in groups of three or five for the best show.

Plant this near perennials with purple foliage, gray foliage or dark green leaves for the best contrast.

 

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