Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Variegated Basket Grass
Oplismenus hirtellus 'Variegatus'

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Oplismenus (oh-PLIS-mee-nus) (Info)
Species: hirtellus (HER-tuh-lus) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegatus

Synonym:Oplismenus africanus

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

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)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
By simple layering
By tip layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By merigold
Thumbnail #1 of Oplismenus hirtellus by merigold


2 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive skylightrun On Aug 27, 2012, skylightrun from Irvington, NY wrote:

I have been buying this lovely plant (Variegated Basket Grass) for years, in small pots, from a family owned nursery (Sprainbrook) here in Westchester County NY. This nursery, focused on organic gardening, grew the plant in its own greenhouses and is now forced to go out of business, after 68 years. Like many avid gardeners, I have made friends at local garden centers and this one was special to me. So sad to hear this news- and what of the beloved Variegated Basket Grass that graces my containers year after year? I have not seen it elsewhere locally. It spills delightfully over the sides of containers, is especially beautiful in hanging pots- graceful and airy, sporting tones of green, white and burgundy even in partial shade. It can grown many feet long and remains lush along its full length IF not allowed to dry out. I highly recommend this plant and will be looking for a new source. Tender, NOT invasive in my experience. I was able to winter over a bit of it in my home.

Positive greenhouselady2 On May 15, 2010, greenhouselady2 from Rockingham, NC wrote:

I am a professional grower in southern North Carolina, zone 7. I obtained a stock plant of this grass last year and have propagated it for baskets. The stockplant has bloomed and seeds have NOT sprouted up in my greenhouse. I have noted that the plant will produce green shoots occasionally that I remove from the baskets.

Most new cultivars are 'sports' or mutations of the parent plant that are cultivated to new varieties and yes, they will revert if not attended. The sport should assume any bad habits the original plant had and I see nothing to support the negative comment from the lady in MD. The fact that it is colder in winter up there, then here, also leads me to believe that the invasive grass is another grass altogether.

I lost my original stock plant to the cold we experienced this past my greenhouse. When I asked my supplier/grower about its requirments to winter it over he said they had to keep in the hottest part of their greenhouses in winter or they have lost their plants too. Sort of posses a question on it's invasive ability in areas colder then zone 8, doesn't it.

Negative LouisaT On Mar 23, 2009, LouisaT from Columbia, MD wrote:

There's now some evidence that this plant can revert to the highly invasive form, which is as invasive as they come. Please don't buy this plant, and if you have it, seal it up well and send it to the landfill. (The infestations in Maryland seem to have spread from a landfill, so don't just toss the hanging basket.) Its seeds stick to clothing, fur, tires, shoes, etc. For more info search for "wavy-leaved basket grass."

Neutral Terry On Apr 30, 2008, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I found this used in several containers at a garden center, so I purchased two pots to add to my deck planters - I'll report back later this season when I see how they're doing.


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

Clinton, Mississippi
Irvington, New York

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