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Have my grasses died?

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Question from Vicki


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I planted 3 grasses in the autum last year (Pennisetum Setaceum Rubrum, Miscanthus Sinisis & Panicum Virgatum 'Squaw'). All 3 seem to be dead but I'm not sure if they might still spring into life. I've cut all the dead foliage back. How long should I wait before giving up on them?

I'm in Edinburgh and we had an extremely severe winter (my huge 20 yr+ Japanese maple has died as a result).

  • Views: 677
  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Tue. 12th April 2011 20:11

Re: Have my grasses died?

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Vicki,
So sorry about your Acer. I, too, lost one after a particularly harsh winter when I used to live on the east coast of the US. As far as your grasses, P. setaceum 'Rubrum' is not hardy so I would say it is dead - many like to treat it as an annual for this very reason. P. virgatum 'Squaw' and M. sinensis are hardy, with 'Squaw' being able to take colder temps than Miscanthus. Of those two, I would expect your Panicum to have definitely survived as long as 1)it was firmly planted in the ground and 2) it was not in excessively wet conditions over the winter. Cutting back was the right thing to do. Give it a few more weeks and hopefully they will start to send up new leaves
Kathy C

  • Posted: Tue. 12th April 2011 23:16

Re: Re: Have my grasses died?

Reply from Vicki

Thanks very much, Kathy, that's very helpful. Would you be able to suggest a similar but hardier grass I could replace the 'Rubrum' with? (They are in a pebbled landscaped area so I really need to put something similar in its place!)

  • Posted: Wed. 13th April 2011 07:31

Re: Have my grasses died?

Reply from Barry Tabor

I agree with Kathy that Penisetum 'Rubrum' is not hardy, but neither is the green variety, except that it is a little more reliable than Rubrum. Many garden centres sell Penisetum as hardy, but they lie. We have all been scammed by greedy garden centres, and it seems far, far better to get plants from nurseries, especially the small ones. I have found a few that I knew nothing about on the plant sellers list on Shoot, and will be visiting some of them over the coming months. Usually the plantsmen/women who run those places do not lie, and can give very helpful advice. I recommend getting in touch with a few near your home, and boycotting garden centres except for composts, chemicals and pots, etc. Their treatment of trees (long trunks and almost no roots) is typical of the money-grubbing attitude of many garden centres, and I avoid using them if possible. Hope this helps.

  • Posted: Fri. 5th August 2011 07:52