what's up with my zebra grass?

meredith77(5)April 21, 2006

new member, hope someone can help!

I bought 2 zebra grass plants at Lowe's a couple of weeks ago. They looked very healthy and are young plants in maybe 1/2 gallon containers. Had old growth underneath that had obviously been cut back earlier in the year. Now they are all withered up on the ends, bent over, and looking quite "stringy". I planted them on the south side of my house where they do get some sun but aren't in full sun all day long due to a large pine tree. They should be getting at least 4-5 hours a day. The soil is nice and black (haven't had it tested yet but I thought ornamental grasses in general did quite well in most soil types) and they have gotten ample water. The crowns are just at soil level. Do you think they might just be in shock from being planted? They're really looking pretty awful right now and i'm afraid they may be on their way out. The other thing is that it was about 80 degress when i planted them and we've had a bit of a cold snap in the meantime (40's at night and 60's during the day). any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Miscanthus varieties can get mealy bug infestations, which can make the plants look deformed and screw up their blooms.

But this time of year, most miscanthus will have new growth popping, and should look erect and green.

The good news is, lowe's guarantees plants...so just take them back for replacement or refund. It definitely sounds like something is wrong. Maybe bugs, or your soil could be too rich & wet. Grasses don't like to be pampered. Those temperature variations are no problem for miscanthus in general.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 12:33PM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

If it is just the ends of the grass blades it may not be quite that dire.
If the grasses have been 'brought on' in a greenhouse and are planted out in sun & cold/cool temps you may just have a case of leaf burn. My Miscanthus in the garden are barely starting to show their leaf shoots and certainly none of the leaves have started to unfurl. Like other greenhouse grown plants grasses should be slowly exposed to strong sunlight. AND .. it is quite common in 'our zone' to have Miscanthus come along a little quickly in an unseasonable warm period and then to have brown leaf ends from cold/frosty nights. How about a little sun screen and & woolen sweater for those cold nights? :o)
Fingers crossed for you.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 6:44PM
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I'm in zone 8 and my Miscanthus are just now pushing new growth in gallon containers so it does seem pretty early to worry about the plant. My concern would be more along the lines that 1. 'Zebrinus' is a rangy cultivar prone to flopping (versus 'Strictus') and 2. 4-5 hours of sun may be just barely enough for a Miscanthus to flourish.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 10:35AM
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The plant that was getting more sun is looking better since we had a nice mild weekend...I ended up moving the other one over a few feet, which should give it a couple more hours of sunlight per day. Hopefully that will help! thanks for the advice!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 12:55PM
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We had the same issue last year. In the fall we planted 6 zebra grasses. At the time of purchase they were beautiful, but after 3 weeks they all started to die back. We followed the planting instructions and I was concerned that they all died, since we had trouble with other plants in the same area previously. This year it looks like they are coming back in full swing. I think it was just transplant shock so you might have the same issue.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 7:37AM
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