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PlantFiles: Pampas Grass
Cortaderia selloana

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Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cortaderia (kor-tuh-DEER-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: selloana (sel-lo-AH-nuh) (Info)

Synonym:Cortaderia argentea
Synonym:Arundo selloana

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

20 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Height:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Spacing:
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White
Cream/Tan

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:
Grown for foliage
Evergreen

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 32 photos.
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Profile:

13 positives
3 neutrals
7 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive DavidLMo On Sep 20, 2014, DavidLMo from St Joseph, MO wrote:

Grows just fine here in Northwest Missouri Zone 5b. I had two clumps growing under a male mulberry - like that when I bought the property in 2010.

My neighbor indicated that they had been here over 30 years. Growing under the the tree, they looked wretched. So I decided the area would be much nicer as a Hosta bed. Heh.:-)

Moving pampas grass is NOT for the faint hearted. It took me over 3 hours simply to dig the two clumps out. Another hour to plant them on a bank on the South side of my property. Now - if you do this THINK ahead. Of course, I should have planted them about 6 - 10 feet further down the hill. Heh.

Now this year, I have these beautiful plumes sticking about 8 feet over the brink of the top of the bank. They are quite something and I have people stop and comment favorably. Not so the wife. :-)

But I am NOT moving them. They look just fine where they are.

Positive JamesSpringBranch On Sep 13, 2014, JamesSpringBranch from Spring Branch, TX wrote:

I was told by a Botany professor that only female Pampas grass plants are sold at nurseries but in California male plants somehow made it into the state causing a big problem with control. Here in south central Texas this is a good choice as a carefree specimen plant. If you have the space. Supposedly there are no male plants in Texas so you don't have to worry about it spreading by seed if you live here.

I decided to move one of mine after a couple of years and that was a big chore taking several hours, so do not plant one somewhere if you are not sure you want it there unless you have deep loose rock free soil which no one I know has in south central Texas.

I never see them get more than around 7 feet in this part of Texas but maybe they need more rain to achieve the sizes mentioned by other posters. I often purposely put in plants that have been listed as invasive only to find them barely able to survive here much less get out of control .

Positive alclubb On Oct 4, 2013, alclubb from Flower Mound, TX wrote:

I have four large clumps of Pampas Grass next to my driveway to create a barrier and to hide a large transformer for the neighborhood. I love it and love the beautiful plums it forms at the end of the summer.

You must have a place that is going to be devoted to this plant exclusively. The leaves are very sharp and can cut you if you pull them through your hand, but I don't ever have to really touch the plant. It is self maintaining, requires pretty much no care, and is a large plant. If you know that, it will serve you well. It is not for every area and for every garden, but if you want a large impressive barrier type plant, this will do very well.

Positive MarcBate On Sep 15, 2013, MarcBate from New York, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I just got a 3-gal white pampas grass plant mail order for my roof deck in NYC, and it is blooming now (June got it, September blooming). It is in a relatively small container (28"L x 10"D x 12"H)

Positive SudieGoodman On Jul 5, 2011, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Zone 8b, Heat Zone 9, deep East, TX on Lake Sam Rayburn Lake
Folks, I've read all comments about Pampass Grass Cortaderia selloana.
I planted two on each side of my culvert at our driveway entry about ten years ago. They have been a pleasure. They have not reseeded.
They are drought tolerant, insect resistant and easy to maintain.

Negative mgpaquin On Jan 26, 2010, mgpaquin from Savannah, GA wrote:

Here in Savannah this plant thrives. If you can manage to keep it away from anything else you care about you may be able to tolerate it. It's not a bad looking thing, but don't get too close. Each leaf is a double edged saw blade, and it spreads. I finally had to pay my yard man extra to dig it up in the lane behind my house because it was encroaching on the asparagus bed. He made me put down moth balls because it also harbors snakes here. In short, I think it's an attractive thing to look at from a distance, on someone ELSE's property.

Negative PaulReeve On Jan 25, 2010, PaulReeve from Redwood City, CA wrote:

Paul Reeve writes:
I believe that any such invasive nuisances, such as Pampas Grass should have a prominent line along with the image that in many locations outside of Argentina this plant is an extremely persistent and invasive weed! Countless hours have been lost in many regions of California in attempts to eradicate this pest. It spreads easily, displaces other desired vegetation, is difficult to remove, and should not be promoted, however much it may appeal to one's aesthetic sensibilities.
Other plants that I would lump with this for nuisance values include the various cultivars of ivy, Vinca major and Vinca minor, and the various brooms.
We have too many exotics cluttering up our landscapes and creating ecological disasters. Let's be cautions in promoting many of the non-native plants, and get informed about them better before promoting them.
Paul Reeve

Negative Calistoga On Jan 25, 2010, Calistoga from Calistoga, CA wrote:

Along the California coast this plant has invaded many areas. The California Native Plant Society has established work parties in some places to dig it out and prevent further reseeding. This is not easy to dig out! There is available a dwarf of this plant not growing over four feet high, sporting the same flower but not producing viable seed. I am growing it with good results, but would caution anyone thinking of trying it, to be sure of your supplier and get an agreement that he will DIG IT OUT if not as advertised. Al

Positive purplesun On Nov 4, 2009, purplesun from Krapets
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

Pampas Grass is sensitive to excess winter moisture and is prone to rotting in such conditions, though it will hardly get completely killed.
I've seen 15-feet+ tall specimens at the Balchik University Botanic Gardens grow with almost no direct sunlight and they were magnificent. In my garden it has not reached quite such a height yet, though it does grow taller and plumper with every year. The wind makes the leaf blades move in a charming wavy fashion.

Neutral Marilynww On Sep 12, 2009, Marilynww from Homosassa, FL wrote:

On the positive side, this plant is perfect for disguising those unsightly telephone, cable, or electrical boxes which have popped up in yards as the result of underground wires rather than telephone poles. Planted near these protrusions they are a marked asthetic improvement -- although the cableguy may not be as thrilled by the sharp edges of the plant.

A WARNING to those who live in a wildfire-prone area. It is a flammable plant and should not be planted any closer than 30' from any buildings.

Positive iamflj On May 2, 2008, iamflj from Dallesport, WA wrote:

Has done well in south central Washington state (hot, dry summers to 110 degrees, strong winds, winters close to zero). I have about a dozen in an open natural area, outside the formal yard. They fill the large space nicely, have an interesting architecture all year, and their blooms in the fall are wonderful. A drip line gives them some water through the very dry summer. Some people cut them to the ground at the end of winter, but I like to trim them into three or four foot globes until the new growth emerges. Have divided a couple successfully, putting the potted divisions in pans of water so they can drink as much as they want, and they grow quickly. They've been easy plants in every way, and great landscape features for the open, natural area not meant for fine gardening.

Negative paulforbes On Apr 23, 2008, paulforbes from Fresno, CA wrote:

I just spent the weekend removing a 4' diameter clump of this from my front yard. It was at least 12' tall last summer and taking over the yard like a cancer. It left a carpet of white fuzz in my front and back yards and clogged my pool filter. I was forced to remove it because it was growing into and breaking a sprinkler head. This is a beautiful specimen for an out-of the-way area where its sharp leaves and vigorous growth won't cause a problem. It should never be planted within 10' of walkways or in areas where it would ever have to be removed. It is by far the most difficult plant removal job I have ever had.

Negative jdiaz On Jan 17, 2008, jdiaz from Chowchilla, CA wrote:

Extremely invasive. Don't plant this is you live in CA. I have seen it growing wild in the coastal mountains as well as in vacant lots in the central valley. I think my neighbor has planted one of these right next to my side yard, so i am not looking foreward to pulling the weedy seedlings from my yard!

Positive beachdreamer On Jul 5, 2007, beachdreamer from Findlay, OH wrote:

I have enjoyed our pampas grass for 5 years now. In the late summer/early fall a number of small birds enjoy the seeds. It is quite amusing to watch the birds when they all pile up onto one branch, then as some fly off, the others hold on or are thrown off. Also, as we usually have several significant snowfalls each winter, pampas grass looks nice covered with snow. Of course we build an occasional snowman but we also build snow animals - and the pampas grass seeds make really cute whiskers for the snow-cat!!

Positive lillymw On May 15, 2007, lillymw from Richmond Hill, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

Although this is listed as a plant to be grown in zones 7a and higher, we grew this plant in zone 6a (Madison, CT) and it came up healthy every year. We never had any problems with invasiveness and it always looked full and beautiful. Not only did it add height to the garden, it also added movement - it's a very expressive plant. It's also magnificent in cut flower arrangements.

Negative MikenMyrtle On Nov 19, 2004, MikenMyrtle from Myrtle Beach, SC wrote:

I have NOTHING good to say about this invasive nightmare of a plant. It might be pretty from a distance, but beware that once it is established it virtually takes dynamite to remove it. The leaves have a sharp cutting edge, and their sandpapery texture, when it touches my skin, causes an immediate allergic reaction, breaking me out in whelps.

If it is planted in front of or beside an AC unit, beware--once the plant is big enough its leaves may be sucked in by the fan's turbines causing serious damage or, as was the case with two of my neighbors, complete destruction beyond repair. The roots, if close enough to the unit, might damage the unit from underneath.

Worst of all, though, might be the thick undergrowth referenced already. The old dead stalk remains at the plant's core is an ideal home for snakes, cockroaches and crickets (the crickets might not sound bad, but I grow iris, and they devour the rhizomes if they can get to them).

The down from the plumes, when in "bloom," fly EVERYWHERE. If you grow herbs (I do), the down is so fine that I cannot remove it all from my basil when it is plucked to make pesto. The seeds rest upon everything.

If you are thinking about this plant for landscaping purposes and you don't really know anything about it, please take to heart what has been written here. I sure wish the builders of my home had known about these numerous negatives.

Negative PvillePlanter On Nov 8, 2004, PvillePlanter from Pflugerville, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The only thing good I can say about pampas grass is that it looks pretty off in the distance...and the more distance the better....like in somebody elses yard. I have just spent the last 2 months finally trying to rid my yard of this stuff. It is invasive and can cut you to shreds if you try to control it's growth. The older growth at the bottom curls up and dies off. If you don't remove this regularly the roots will continue to grow and tangle above ground in the old growth. To remove it you have may have to cut and dig through many layers of tangled roots just to get to ground level! New home builders often plant them as a hedge or foundation plant simply because they are invasive and grow so quickly .....AARRRGGG!

Positive deehrler On Jul 17, 2004, deehrler from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

In its right location, Pampas Grass is a gem. Fortunately I have no allergies. What I like best is the almost magical mime the plumes initiate during a light breeze. It is like watching a group of extraterrestials in conversation. Late in the afternoon the interaction from their shadows casts a magic spell.

Positive DNNW1963S On May 6, 2004, DNNW1963S from Sanger, TX wrote:

I planted one in my back yard in Grapevine, Texas about 4 years ago. I have a sprinkler system. It is now HUGE and beautiful, but you need to be cautious - the edges of the leaves will cut you up. I think it would be a terrific sound/dust/visual barrier on a property line. I would not plant them closer than 12 to 15 feet apart, they get really large. The plant is thriving here is North Texas. I got this plant at Home Depot nursery as a little tyke.

Positive clairsflowers On Aug 9, 2003, clairsflowers from Wetumpka, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Our plant was crowded last year and looked pitiful. We moved it this spring and it is 5 x bigger than last year. It needs lots of sun and plenty of room. It is now hiding our central heating unit. Great plant.

Neutral suncatcheracres On Aug 8, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

Pampas grass is attractive, but it can be problematic to allergy sufferers, like my Father. He had to vitrually lock himself indoors in the air conditioning when certain plants were "in bloom," and this was one of them. Our neighbors when I was in high school had a long line of closely planted and huge pampas grass all across the back fence line of their back yard, which provided an effective screen from the neighbors behind them; but my Father hated those plants because they caused him such misery at certain times of the year.

Positive Ladyfern On Aug 7, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

A real specimin plant. Give it some room--it may have a spread of 6'! Cut back to the ground in early spring.

Neutral Trish On Aug 24, 2001, Trish from Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Pampas grass is not fussy about soil or climate- it will flourish in any garden. Established, it can reach 20 feet tall. Each plant is a fountain of saw-toothed, grassy leaves, which produce long stalks bearing 1-3 foot white to chamois or pink flower plumes. If female, you can collect seed. The females have much showier plumes. Plant may be male or female. May become considered invasive- divide every 3 years if desired.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Columbiana, Alabama
Midland City, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Tuscumbia, Alabama
Wetumpka, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona
Prescott, Arizona
Malvern, Arkansas
Anaheim, California
Calistoga, California
Clovis, California
Emerald Lake Hills, California
Fremont, California
San Leandro, California
Madison, Connecticut
Belleview, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Homosassa, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Old Town, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Athens, Georgia
Danielsville, Georgia
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Fairfield, Iowa
Mc Cracken, Kansas
Abita Springs, Louisiana
Folsom, Louisiana
Lake Charles, Louisiana
New Iberia, Louisiana
Middle River, Maryland
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Saint Joseph, Missouri
Neptune, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Buffalo, New York (2 reports)
New York City, New York
Candler, North Carolina
Athens, Ohio
Findlay, Ohio
Ada, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Arlington, Texas
Broaddus, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Burleson, Texas
Caddo Mills, Texas
Edinburg, Texas
Hargill, Texas
Hereford, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Longview, Texas
Mcallen, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Pflugerville, Texas
Red Oak, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Santa Fe, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas
Mechanicsville, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Bremerton, Washington
Dallesport, Washington
Kalama, Washington



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