Saccharum Species, Elephant Grass, Hardy Pampas Grass, Plume Grass, Ravenna 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



Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Columbus, Ohio

Richfield, Ohio

Conway, South Carolina

Indian Mound, Tennessee

Broaddus, Texas

Franklin, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


On Oct 1, 2010, braun06 from Irving, TX (Zone 8a) 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.


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)


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.


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.


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 (ea... read more


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

On invasives lists in California.