- Giant Chinese Silver Grass
formerly listed as Miscanthus floridulus;
aka Miscanthus japonicus
One outstanding quality of this large grass is lending a tropical
effect to any landscape. Even in cold, snowy climates, Giant Chinese
silver grass remains upright throughout the winter. These large grasses
are particularly effective when used as a specimen in a park or zoo.
A giant for the garden! In the picture on the left the gardener is
5'10" tall. She says the plant is 6 or 7 years old but it was tall
the very first year. This specimen is growing in Zone 4 however due
to the shorter growing season, it has not bloomed. But it makes such
a great statement with its foliage, who cares if it blooms or not!
Tip: Lisa L. says there is a magnificent display of Miscanthus Giganteus
at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Description: warm season*; clump forming; very robust
Foliage is green; blade width is 3 cm (1.25"); 280-370 cm (9'-12')
Flowers Sept through frost; 30 cm (12") above foliage
Ideal conditions: full sun; moist fertile soil; tolerates
a wide range of soil types; moderately drought tolerant; holds up to
wind and snow
Zone: 5- 9, likely quite a bit colder
(find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)
Suggested uses: specimen, border, screen, hedge, background
plant, massing, by the water, arrangements
When divide: when it shows
signs of life in the spring, continuing until the new growth
is about 18" tall; only in the spring (further
info on dividing grasses)
When to plant or transplant: plant bare root plants
only in late spring to early summer, when the soil
is warm, about the same time you plant your bean or corn
seeds or put out your tomato plants. The roots will grow
only in warm soil. Planting too early in the spring may
cause the roots to rot. Similar story in the fall when the
roots may not grow enough to establish before the cold and
wet of winter, resulting in the demise of the plant.
When to cut back: we enjoy the foliage of Miscanthus
so much that we like to leave it standing until the new growth starts
to appear, possibly as late as May. We also like the combination of
the tan foliage and spring bulbs. Cut back to about 6" from the
crown of the plant.
Partner with: Rudbeckia, Inula
Good plants for in front of M. Giganteus: Calamagrostis
'Karl Foerster' (c), other Miscanthus,
taller Deschampsias (c), Chasmanthium,
Panicum. Cool season grasses (c) are recommended
due to their ability to provided interest earlier in the growing season.
Season of interest: July till spring; will likely
remain standing all winter
Drought tolerance rating: 3 (water to root depth once a week); further info
Recommended spacing between plants: 150-225 cm (60-90")
why such a difference?
Native to: lowlands in Japan, Taiwan and the Pacific
Plant form: upright and arching
Pronunciation: Miscanthus (mis-KAN-thus)
*a warm season grass likes to grow in warm weather. Before it will
show signs of life in the spring, the soil must warm up, and be warm
for possibly as long as two weeks.
Compare Miscanthus 'Giganteus' to our other grasses in this handy chart.