Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ravenna Grass, Plume Grass, Hardy Pampas Grass
Saccharum ravennae

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Saccharum (SAK-er-um) (Info)
Species: ravennae (ra-VEN-ay-ee) (Info)

Synonym:Erianthus ravennae

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
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


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 18 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive atcps On Sep 8, 2014, atcps from WOODLAWN, TN wrote:

Spectacular grass for the acid red clays of Middle Tennessee. I have not had any issues with seedlings but will keep a watch out. This plant is low maintenance and stunning in full sun. Plant it and stand back and watch it do its thing. It is very tall and needs to be used as a hedge or specimen because it will quickly overwhelm a garden.

Negative eriogonum_7 On Oct 9, 2013, eriogonum_7 from Castle Valley, UT wrote:

Ravenna grass has fully invaded miles of canyon containing the largest water source near my town in southeast Utah, and is headed downstream to teh Colorado River. The source was apparently landscape plantings, located far from the creek, divided from it by a large ridge. These seeds blow in the wind. Don't plant it if you are concerned with invading the neighborhood.

Positive braun06 On Oct 1, 2010, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Very tough and cool grass. I planted it as a one gallon and I now have 6 flower stalks and it doubled its rootball width in over 5 months. In central Illinois it displays no invasive potential.

Negative ineedacupoftea On Sep 12, 2009, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

I have a premonition from my experiences with this plant that if it doesn't end up on the noxious weed list here in Western Colorado, it will at least behave as a noxious weed. I have seen it escape cultivation several times, moving quickly into riparian areas.

In discouragement of planting this creature, I recommend several giant-grass alternatives depending on climate:

Sporobolus wrightii (Big Sacaton)
Miscanthus x giganteus (Giant Maiden Grass)
Panicum virgatum 'Cloud Nine' (a big blue switchgrass)Sorgastrum nutans (not as tall, but nice yet)

Positive JoniJumpUp On Nov 6, 2005, JoniJumpUp from Grand Rapids, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have had this plant 9 years and have divided it 3 or 4 times. When planted in the sun and watered it grows to great heights and spreads the size of the root system. When planted in the shade it does not grow very tall, and may die back after a couple of years. It is very difficult to divide because the dried canes are very hard. You need to chop it apart with a sharp spade or axe. Fortunately the roots do not grow too deep, so if you need to move the entire plant you can dig under the plant to free it up.

Positive SudieGoodman On Aug 20, 2005, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

My bush is four years old. I don't add fertilizer or water and plant is healthy. My plumes are dry in August, many neighbors have new, healthy plumes.

Positive heartbewell On Jul 3, 2003, heartbewell from Kearney, NE wrote:

This grass is a Nebraska native normally found along river banks.
I started with a purchased pot of Ravenna grass and for the first year it was slow to take off. By the second year, the grass "came into its own" and reached 4 to 5 feet high at the bend of the leaves (the entire leaf reaches 10 feet or more in length).
On its second year, the plant bloomed 12 foot tall (almost bamboo-like) spires topped with semi-full cream colored seed plumes. I have very fertile open soil and as of yet, have had only 5 seeds germinate in over 4 years.
In my experience, the grass is a solitary clump grower, spreading its growth circle each year. Now in its 4th year, the clump grew large enough to shade a section of my small garden and I divided the clump into three pieces (each piece being the diameter of a 5 gallon bucket)and moved them to a new very open location.
If you have garden snakes, they will find protection inside the columns of grass. Something to be aware of when the time comes to trim the grass down or divide it in the Spring.
In conclusion, I greatly enjoy this grass and would recommend it for anyone having 10 feet of open ground and for anyone wanting to make an "impact statement" in their yard. I live in the central part of Nebraska where summer's high humidity and temperature are followed by winter's blizzards. Neither have an impact on this great grass.

Negative FranG On Nov 25, 2002, FranG from Brighton, MA wrote:

On invasives lists in California.


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

Maricopa, Arizona (2 reports)
Rogers, Arkansas
Denver, Colorado
Loveland, Colorado
Guilford, Connecticut
Washington, District Of Columbia
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Davenport, Iowa
Brookeville, Maryland
Grand Rapids, Michigan
O Fallon, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Kearney, Nebraska
Alexander, New York
Bethpage, New York
Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Richfield, Ohio
Conway, South Carolina
Indian Mound, Tennessee
Broaddus, Texas
Franklin, Wisconsin

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