How to Grow Eulalia Grass

Japanese silver grass

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis) is a popular, clump-forming ornamental grass used to add a breezy, effortless elegance to gardens and landscapes. The grass boasts feathery plumed seed heads, which generally appear from late summer to early fall—but even without these plumes, the plant's upright stems still look good throughout the winter. The tall blades of the grass usually arch over gently, creating a pretty cascading effect and rippling in the wind.

Native to Asia, eulalia grass is available in a wide variety of cultivars, each with varying heights and color shades, including silver, pink, purple, and red. Eulalia grass is best planted in the spring and will grow very quickly. Some dwarf cultivars don't even reach 3 feet in height, but most are taller, with many growing to be over 10 feet tall.

Botanical Name Miscanthus sinensis
Common Name Eulalia grass
Plant Type Herbaceous, perennial
Mature Size 3–7 ft. tall, 3–6 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to acidic
Bloom Time Late summer, fall, winter
Flower Color Reddish silver
Hardiness Zones 5–9 (USDA)
Native Area Asia
Toxicity Nontoxic
closeup of Japanese silver grass

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Japanese silver grass

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Japanese silver grass

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Japanese silver grass

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Eulalia Grass Care

Eulalia grass is a relatively hardy species that does well with minimal care, making it a great way to fill in your landscape or add visual interest to your garden with very little effort. While these versatile and easy-to-grow grasses make for a great garden focal point, they also work well as privacy screens, border plants, or as a hedging alternative.

Eulalia grass can spread rapidly if left to its own devices, but many cultivars of the plant typically sold at nurseries are bred to be sterile, which reduces the risk that the plant population will get out of control. Additionally, the grass experiences no major issues with pests or disease.

Light

Eulalia grass prefers a position in full sun for optimal growth. While the plant can do well in partial shade (especially in hotter climates), it may not experience as vigorous growth. Additionally, there's a chance that too little sun can make the grass overly floppy, dull in color, or result in a reduced amount of blooming. Aim for a spot in your landscape that boasts at least six to eight hours of sunlight daily.

Soil

You can grow your eulalia grass in a variety of different soil types with great success. That said, the plant tends to prefer a blend that is fertile, moist, loamy, and, above all, well-draining. Soil that remains too wet or waterlogged after watering can lead to root rot, which can also impact growth.

Water

Eulalia grass does best in soil that is consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Once the surface of the soil becomes dry, this is generally a good indicator that more water is required. Although it prefers moisture, the plant can handle periods of drought once fully established. Be careful about how you water your eulalia grass, too. Overhead pouring or spraying can have an impact on how effectively the water reaches the roots, and overly-wet blades can increase the chance of a fungal infection developing.

Temperature and Humidity

When dormant, eulalia grass is hardy down to -5 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the plant is not suited to regions that are susceptible to late spring frosts, which can damage tender new growth. Additionally, eulalia grass may have a difficult time flowering in colder regions.

Fertilizer

If you're growing eulalia grass in its ideal soil type, there's a good chance it won't need any additional feeding. However, if you want to boost its growth and bloom potential after it's established, you can use an organic fertilizer once a month during the summer.

Eulalia Grass Varieties

There are over 150 different cultivars of eulalia grass, and they can each vary greatly in their height, color and pattern. Some of the more popular varieties include:

  • Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus': This varietal grows easily, with purple flower plumes emerging in the winter. It can reach up to 6 feet tall, making it a good option for a larger space or privacy screen.
  • Miscanthus sinensis 'Silberfeder': This cultivar is tall and best-suited to cooler climates, like those found in USDA hardiness zones four through eight. It can grow to be up to 8 feet tall and boasts pinkish-silver plumes.
  • Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus': Also known as zebra grass, this varietal adds a splash of unique interest to your garden, thanks to its eye-catching variegated foliage and pink plumes.
  • Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus': This varietal is particularly well-suited to growing near water features like ponds or lakes—it's more tolerant of wet soil conditions than most other cultivars.

Pruning

Eulalia grass is still attractive even when dormant in the winter, so it's best to wait until the early spring before you cut it back. Doing so is actually beneficial to the plant's overall health—it can help encourage vigorous new growth, as well as strong blooms.

Propagating Eulalia Grass

Root division works well if you plan to propagate new plants from a mature eulalia grass. The process is best done in late spring after any danger of frost has passed. Large divisions usually take well to being planted straight into their permanent position—they just need moist and fertile soil and plenty of sunlight. Make sure you have a decent amount of roots and foliage on your chosen clump—several shoots are needed to ensure success.

If the division you're working with is on the smaller side, you may get better results if you start it off in a pot and grow it in partial shade. Then, once established, it can be planted out sometime during late spring or summer when it's a bit larger and hardier.

How to Grow Eulalia Grass From Seed

If you're looking to grow eulalia grass from seed, you're in luck—the germination process is actually pretty fast, and usually occurs within two weeks. In the fall, sow the seeds on the surface of a moist, fertile soil mixture. Keep the seeds covered in a greenhouse-like environment for their first winter. They can then be transplanted to their permanent position in late spring or early summer of the following year. Keep in mind, it will take you a full year before any flowering can be seen on your eulalia grass.

When you plant out your eulalia grass, allow enough space between the plants for spreading, as this is a wide, clump-forming species that can take up a decent amount of square footage. The amount of space needed will vary depending on the mature size of the cultivar you've selected.