Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Eulalia, Maiden Grass, Zebra Grass, Chinese Silvergrass
Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Miscanthus (miss-KANTH-us) (Info)
Species: sinensis (sy-NEN-sis) (Info)
Cultivar: Morning Light

12 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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3 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Mar 15, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

My favorite Miscanthus, and one of my favorite ornamental grasses.

The variegation is subtle, but it gives the foliage a silvery cast that sets it apart from its neighbors. It's also luminous when it's backlit by the sun. This is a beautiful ornamental even where the season is too short for it to flower. It forms a tight clump and is self-supporting.

The feathery flowers appear just at first frost here in late October (Z6a), so they won't set seed. It also means that they last well into the winter. I have never seen this plant self-sow.

This is one of the narrow-leafed cultivars, and it sheds snow and ice better than those with broader foliage. It still tends to break down eventually here, where there's a lot of snow, but it usually looks good into January, and sometimes beyond. It's a longer lasting winter ornamental in Washington DC than it is here.

It's tough and adaptable, needing only full sun and good drainage. I've only had it fail to establish when I've planted it late in the season---I now make sure it's planted before the end of June.

I cut the foliage back to about 6" in early spring, or by April 15 at the latest---otherwise the new leaves mix in with last year's, or the tips get an ugly flattop. Wear gloves and long sleeves when doing maintenance, as the leaf edges can give wicked cuts.

All Miscanthus will eventually start to die out at the center, generally in 5-10 years. They can be tough to divide, but I can generally cut off a chunk from the edge of the clump by jumping on a spade or using a serrated knife.

Some kinds of Miscanthus can invade natural areas in some parts of the country---it all depends on which miscanthus, and where. If you're interested in its invasive potential, I found two nuanced discussions helpful: or escaped sites...

Positive laurawege On Sep 6, 2010, laurawege from Wayland, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

this is a well behaved grass in my mixed perenial bed I have other grasses who flop and lay around but this one stays upright all summer and for that matter winter too . I have had it for 4 years and so far no plumes but I guess that might be a zone thing it is magnificent in the morning light . I am planning to remove the less well behaved ones and replace them with more of this variety. It also made the cut on my plants that thrived the summer of 2010 with out much care list! very nice plant

Negative J_Erik On Jun 1, 2010, J_Erik from Colorado Springs, CO wrote:

I just planted a number of zebra / varigated grasses in my garden in Colorado Springs, CO, and they immediately started to die, which is in direct contradiction to everything I've been told about how most ornamental grasses flourish in relatively arid, high-altitude, poor soil, conditions.

Since the soil in my area is atrocious, I hoped this would be a good landscaping solution, but at present it appears doomed to failure.

I've watered once every 3 days, per the plants' instructions to "water frequently until established." Could I be overwatering? The site is in the direct sun and has mediocre soil and drainage.

Any suggestions from this group before I am forced to relegate this latest effort to the compost pile?

Neutral myriban On Sep 7, 2009, myriban from Northeast region, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

Planted this in the middle of a large perennial bed and it wanted to take over in the worst way. The clump expanded in leaps and bounds every year! The area gets full sun and the soil is slightly acidic and a bit on the clay side. If I didn't divide the grass by at least half every other year it became 4 feet across at the base. And for those of you who have divided these grasses before - it is no easy task - tough maintenance. It's truly a beautiful specimen, especially the pinkish inflorescences, but I might try planting it in a bottomed-out container or with something that will prevent clump expansion. On a positive note - you never have to buy another one again - one grass will provide a lifetime supply! Good Luck!

Positive jamie68 On Dec 15, 2006, jamie68 from Vancouver, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This grass has so many good qualities, it is lovely, it does not spread rampantly but instead forms nice, mannerly, fountain shaped clumps over several years, the plumes are a lovely pinkish/amber color fading to a tawny color for winter interest, and the silvery variegation is striking and consistent. A very good Miscanthus!!

Neutral bigcityal On Dec 9, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I absolutely loved the texture of Morning Light, but after a few years of waking up slow - it kept sleeping. It does not flower in this zone either.

Neutral smiln32 On Dec 1, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Silver Variegated Maiden Grass - vertical stripes of creamy white mix with the long, narrow green blades of this cultivar. The panicles are pink and feathery and start to appear in September. It reaches a height of 5' and a spread of 3'.


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

Tulelake, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado (2 reports)
Boise, Idaho
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Greenville, Indiana
Lafayette, Indiana
Soldier Pond, Maine
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Wayland, Massachusetts
Ludington, Michigan
Richland, Michigan
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Mogadore, Ohio
Richfield, Ohio
Salem, Oregon
Coventry, Rhode Island
Sumter, South Carolina
Christiana, Tennessee
Millington, Tennessee
Rowlett, Texas
Seattle, Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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