Pampas Grass

Pampas Grass

The grass of the pampas is giant, reaching 2.5 m in height. It is a plant of the family Poacea, that is known by grasses, grasses, grasses or grasses (the old name of this family was Gramineae).

It is a plant native to South America, mainly from countries such as Brazil (southern region) and Argentina, in the Pampas region (hence its popular name, due to this region being composed of countries like Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay).

The species that belong to this family, are characterized by being floriferous plants, monocotyledonous and has great importance for humans, both in the economic aspect as in the food aspect, since they are part of this family to grow as: corn, wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice and sugar cane.

The following varieties of this plant species are found: Gold Band, Pumila and Sunningdale Silver.

The beauty of the pampas grass is recognized and admired all over the world, due to the beautiful colorful feathers that are produced by this species. These feathers are quite strong and durable when cut from the plant, and can be used to form arrays and pots.

Characteristics of the Pampas Grass

The pampas grass is an herbaceous species, characterized by being a type of plant that does not have a woody stem and can acquire the height and characteristics of the shrub, which is the case of this plant.

It is a rhizomatous plant, that is, it has underground stems that have the capacity to store and store nutrients for the sustenance of the vegetal species. The rhizomatous plants grow forming clumps that are periodically separated from the mother plant, for cleaning and for the multiplication of the plants. The clumps of the grass of the pampas present several tufts of leaves.

The stem has numerous stems, which is a typical stem of rhizomatous plants, which are dense and with a large amount of leaves. It is a plant species that presents a perennial life cycle, this means that it is a plant that has a long life cycle, which in the plant kingdom means that it lives for more than two years.


The pampas grass is considered a large plant, because it has an average height of 2.50 m and have already found species of this plant with 4.70 m.

Its inflorescences resemble large feathers and may be white, yellow, pink, purple, sky blue and purple, and form in summer and autumn.

Another characteristic of the flowers of the grass of the pampas is that they are perennial flowers. The leaves of the pampas grass are long, thin, linear (they present the layout of a line) and have sharp edges, since they are very sharp.

They can come in green, blue-green and silver gray. They are large leaves, and can have 2 m in length.

Being a different plant, its beauty is emphasized if used alone in lawns, being able to be planted in sets. It is also used as a cut flower.

Pampas Grass Cultivation The plant has the characteristic of being easily managed and cultivated. It is a typical plant of temperate climate, however it adapts to be cultivated in regions that have Mediterranean, tropical and subtropical climate. It supports with good resistance to cold climates and even extreme cold conditions such as frost.

It should be cultivated in full sun, especially in the coldest regions. The ideal soil for its cultivation is fertile, and the soil can be enriched with organic material to increase soil fertility so that it is more suitable for cultivation.

Irrigation should be done on a regular basis, and the soil may be lightly moistened, however care must be taken not to soak the soil, as this may cause suffocation of the roots.

It is characterized by being a very peculiar and different plant species, so its beauty is enhanced when the plant is grown on lawns alone or in sets.

The grass of the pampas has a beautiful decorative and ornamental effect, being able to be a species used in both landscaping and floral art – production of floral arrangements.

In the case of the use of the plant to produce floral arrangements, it is cultivated as a cut flower, because in this case they are cut after blossoming and are exposed to the sun.


The pampas grass multiplies through the division of clumps and the dispersion of seeds.

The multiplication by division of clumps consists in the fragmentation (division) of clumps that appear in a plant. Due to this division, seedlings of the cultivated species arise, and the seedlings that are obtained are intended to be planted elsewhere, and thus generate new species of pampas grass elsewhere.

The seed dispersion multiplication consists of spreading the seeds that are produced by the flowers of the plant in places with suitable conditions of cultivation. A great aid to the dispersion of the seeds of this species is given by the wind, which causes the dispersion in a natural way.

It is a plant species that reproduces with extreme ease, so much so that in some countries it is considered an invasive plant, because the pampas grass has the capacity to produce more than 1 million seeds during its life cycle.

It can also be used on slopes and berms as a way to combat soil erosion and also as a kind of wind when cultivated near the sea.

pampas grass

is recommended to make drastic pruning the plant each year by cutting the whole plant close to the ground. This is usually done in late winter or early spring.

Because of the sharp foliage, the pruning task should be done very carefully using gloves and a long-sleeved shirt.

Although not mandatory, pruning incorporates earthworm humus into the soil around the plant and a chemical fertilizer NPK 10-10-10 to stimulate growth, when the plant is formed use NPK 4-14-8 to stimulate flowering.


In many gardens and parks of the warm or subtropical zones of the world, it is common to find a very tall grass, with what look like feather dusters on the top of each stem. The Pampas grass is a very easy to grow plant, in fact, it spreads so easily and quickly that it can become very invasive .

It is important to control its growth in order to enjoy its ornamental beauty without problems.

The Cortaderia has its origin in South America, specifically in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Live in areas where precipitation is not very abundant, adapting to the drought of the place.

It resists without weak and little lasting frosty problems, and has no preferences regarding soil type.

It can reach a height of about two meters, maximum three. Its flowering in the form of a duster, which appears in summer, is very abundant. Therefore, if you have allergies to grasses, it is not advisable to have it in the garden.

It is important to know that two or three grams of seeds are enough to obtain a thousand plants. Easy spread from the shoots that come out at the base of Cortaderia. It is advisable to try to limit its growth by planting it with a pot on the ground, or by wrapping the root ball – before planting it on the ground – with a net or similar.

It can be pruned in spring, forming it as a “ball”, at a height of about 50cm from the base of the plant.

There are some varieties of Cortaderia: some are more suitable for small gardens, such as the Cortaderia selloana “Pumila” ; others have intense pink flowers, such as Cortaderia selloana “Rosea” ; some are more suitable for large gardens, as isolated specimens planting them in the lawn, or in groups, such as Cortaderia selloana .


It is a plant that grows in a dense mass of shrubs, with evergreen leaves, narrow and with sharp edges, that can grow up to 2 meters long by 1 centimeter wide and arc towards the ground, of bluish green or silvery gray.

These aerial organs tend to bow to the ground, and from them protrude dense panicles or floral panicles similar to feather dusters 30 to 90 centimeters in length, each composed of four or six flowers of white, gold or pink (depending of the variety) that make their appearance when the end of summer approaches or at the beginning of autumn.

Due to its thick and deep radicular system, the ability to produce an enormous amount of seeds and its easy adaptation to different environments and climates, it can become an invasive plant that is quickly imposed on native species, so its commercialization and cultivation they are prohibited in some countries.

The grass of the Pampas is a rustic species that grows and develops better in warm areas, being sensitive to frost

It prefers warm areas and can not withstand frost well, and can be grown in places in full sun or with semi-shade, alone in isolated clumps in the middle of the lawn, or next to ponds or other aquatic gardens.

Although it is not very demanding in the matter of soils, the cultivation of Pampas grass for ornamental purposes requires the use of fertile substrates, well aired and well drained, the use of mixtures of garden soil, peat and sand being common.

It was named by Alexander von Humboldt in 1818, who gave it the name of the German naturalist botanist Friedrich Sellow (1789-1831), German-Brazilian botanist, who participated in botanical expeditions in the interior of Brazil, who studied the flora of South America.

Cultivation and uses 

It was introduced in Europe and North America as an ornamental plant , and to a lesser extent as a forage crop . The feathery woolly flower, when drying, is widely used in floristry .

There are several species :

  • ‘Albolineata’ – small cultivar that only reaches 2 m in height. Variegated leaves, with yellow spots.
  • ‘Sunningdale Silver’ – reaches 3 m and particularly dense floral plumage. This variety has been awarded by the Royal Society of Horticulture with the Award of Merit in Gardening .

It is highly adaptable, growing in a wide range of environments and climates. Seed prolifically, each plant can produce more than 1 million seeds during its life. Thus, in places like California , Hawaii or the north and west of the Iberian Peninsula is an invasive species . In Spain (except the Canary Islands), New Zealand and in South Africa , its sale and propagation is forbidden for the same reasons. The extirpation of the species by burning does not prevent its regrowth. Used herbicide AquaMaster that kills its roots. 

If you have allergies to grasses, you should not grow them. Cellulose is obtained with the leaves. It is a medicinal plant as a child febrifuge, diuretic and sudoriferous. 

They are used to decorate dry vases, sometimes dyed in other colors, for that they are cut when they are young and dried upside down. It prefers warm zones and does not support frost well. Light in full sun, but grows with partial shade.

Pampas Grass Care

With the appearance of the first specimens, the plant should be removed with manual start, avoiding letting it grow and develop until the formation of seeds and flowers. In adult specimens, foliar herbicide is usually used, provided there are no nearby flooded areas. The grazing with cattle and the continuous mowings allow to keep at bay the growth of the feather duster, avoiding its reproduction by seed.

At least it is very useful to cut the flowers when they leave to avoid the propagation of the seeds.

The use of fire must be avoided, since it does not eliminate it and instead it eliminates the surrounding natural vegetation, which makes the duster even better because it no longer has competition.

Propagation Of The Pampas Grass

The multiplication of this species can be done by dividing the plants during the spring, or by seeds planted in a tray in groups of three or four. Under optimal temperature conditions (22ºC to 24ºC) germination takes place two or three weeks after planting.

Why do these alien and invasive species find an excellent field of cultivation far from their natural habitat?

For the reason that they do not find natural enemies that affect their excessive reproduction, if this has been added a mega-capacity of multiplication, of acclimatization, of survival in different situations, we have the ideal conditions for a proliferation that affects the biodiversity of the system .

They relegate the native species by competition , they can even make them disappear. In the case of the Eucalyptus, there is an economic interest, but in the case of the Cortaderia its introduction was due only to the interest (doubtful) as an ornamental plant .

Description of the Cortaderia and characteristics.

This plant reaches a very large growth in conditions not necessarily good; the development of the plant can reach up to 3.5 meters. of diameter and 4 mts. of height and, its inflorescences , can exceed 0.5 meters. of height .

Its seeds are dragged by the wind to about 30 Kms .

It is a dioic species, that is to say, the sexes are separated existing masculine plants and feminine plants, being these the ones that develop the most striking plumes.

Its leaves are painted and serrated reach 2 meters. in length , they are very lignified and their serrated edges make cuts, on the skin of those who manipulate them.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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