Miscanthus sinensis plumes and freezing temps

mnsilverfeatherOctober 14, 2006

A quick question. I have several Miscanthus sinensis Siberfeder grasses that were put in this year and they started to get their plumes late around the beginning of October, and they're not out all the way yet like my other Miscanthus variety grasses. With the recent below freezing temps in my area does this mean the plumes will not emerge or open any further from the cold temps?

Thanks for any info.

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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

I think that you will just have to wait and see. Too many factors involved to guess. BUT, I can say that this often happens with my Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' and my M. s. 'Morning Light'. They are late bloomers in my garden and they often just get started when the colder temperatures hit.

Your 'Silberfeder' will probably do much better next year. It isn't ususally a late bloomer.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 8:16AM
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Siberfeder is a good choice of miscanthus for zone 4

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 8:58AM
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We've added a total of 12 new Siberfeder Miscanthus grasses in May of this year. They all started to bloom around the same time about, late September to early October. What we thought we put in last year turned out to be Miscanthus flame grass I'm pretty sure. I love it though. We thought the 2 grasses we put in last year were the Siberfeder variety.

The 2 from last year bloomed starting in mid August and are thick with plumes, probably a total of 100 on the 2 combined. They've reached their maximum height and the plumes have opened completely. They have almost a cotton appearance. The leaves turned a nice mix of bright orange, red and rust color in fall.

We also have 2 Blue Wonder Miscanthus and 6 Huron Sunrise Miscanthus, all added this year.

I'll have to post some pictures of them sometime.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 1:35PM
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I'd love to see pics! Post a pic of what looks like Purpurascens and maybe we can get a collective id.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 9:15PM
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Here is a picture of the 2 grasses planted last year. This is a recent picture from this fall. Can't find the tag that came with them.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 9:40PM
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Here are 2 more pictures from this year of the grasses planted last year. The exact ID of this Miscanthus is unknown to me right now.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 9:56PM
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Great grasses Mnsilverfeather, whatever they are, thanks for sharing!

Can I add another question about Miscanthus blooms (I already posted it on another thread but it didn't get an answer), please?
Is it normal that Miscanthus plumes take a long time to open, I mean, to fully bloom? They appeared about 3 weeks ago and are still 'closed'! Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 1:59AM
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Alchemilla..I only have 3 Miscanthus varieties blooming, and that's how long they all take to fully open, maybe even a little longer for some of them.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 6:03AM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

The grasses pictured above looks a lot like M.s. Purpenscens. At least that's what my stand looks like. My monster M.s. Morning Light is just starting to put out its plumes so I'm not sure if they will make it all the way out or not before it really gets cold. It seems late this year for some reason. All the other grasses have had their plumes out for weeks.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 9:07AM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

Agreed! The first two photos especially look just like my M. purpurescens .... or at least like mine looked last week! Wind and rain have totally removed all the lovely plumes :o(

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 12:27PM
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Thanks for the comments.

Those 2 grasses were the last ones left at the nursery last year, and the tag got misplaced and I didn't know what they were for sure. After seeing them this year I've been convinced myself that they are Miscanthus Purpurascens Flame grass. We got a few other Flame grasses this year and they look like the ones from last year now also.

We got many Siberfeder Miscanthus grasses this year and they all started opening very late. With the recent lows reaching the 20's the plumes starting curling up on the ends. It's warmed up a little more now and they've uncurled, so I hope they open up more and get taller.

These are more recent pictures from this fall of the 2 Purpurascens from last year. To the left there are 2 other Flame grasses and behind those are 2 Siberfeder Miscanthus with very tall plumes. The Purpurascens from last year look very nice still and they stay that way all the way through the winter even with all the snow. The plumes stay puffy right up until we cut them off in late winter when new growth starts.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 4:35PM
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beautiful grasses!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 9:59PM
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btw, the cultivar name is 'Silberfeder', a German name (cultivar was selected in the early 50's from seedlings at the Munich Botanic Garden) that translates to "silver feather", as in the OP's handle :-) Generally considered a very free fowering selection, I'd expect the plumes to open earlier once the grass becomes sufficiently established.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 11:12AM
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The 'Purpurascens' grasses all started blooming around mid August.

The majority of the 'Silberfeder' grasses bloomed in late September or early October.

The 'Blue Wonder' grasses started blooming in late July.

I'm sure the 'Silberfeder' grasses will bloom much sooner next year, as they'll be much more established and come back thicker.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 8:09AM
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I planted the silberfeder about 5 years ago.It slowly grew and now it is great. The plumes do come out late, about the middle of September. The flowers are at least 7 feet tall and look just great (almost like pampas grass.).The only protection I give them is a good layer of bark, and when the snow comes, I make sure that there is a lot of snow around them.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 7:46PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

My poor Miscanthus sinensis strictus usually get nice plumes but this year they hardly sent up any and they are just starting to get a few. It didn't seem any colder than usual to me but it must have been... Lots of lovely photos!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 5:55AM
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anna_beth(zone 5-6)

Same observation about miscanthus sinensis Strictus here in zone 5. It is at least 3 years old and this year it attempted to flower for the first time. However, we had a couple of nights around 0 degrees Celsius and the plumes got stuck mid-way and never fully emerged or developed, even though it is much warmer now. The Rotsilber (a large, established clump) and Graziella (first season in the ground) both bloomed, earlier than the Strictus, and with no problems whatsoever. Especially Graziella seems to be a reliable bloomer considering it has only been planted this spring.

I must move the Strictus to a spot where it will have more hours of sun during the day, which hopefully will cause it to bloom earlier during the season.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 8:27AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

In the spring I was a week to 2 weeks behind getting my grasses cut back and this fall I thought the retarded growth and flowering was due to that issue.

After reading the above posts it seems like this year was an off year for onamental grasses across the board.

One thing I've learned over the years of onamental grass growing no matter what the season has brought orn. grasses seem to adjust and make a statement the following year.

As always I'll wait until next growing season to determine if there was a bad alignment of the stars or if Mother Nature got really cranky or if in fact I screwed up tending my grasses this past year.

Winter time is the time to rewrap the chair's webbing, clean out the cooler and review the landscape map or plans and start fantasying about next years grasses.

Ornamental grasses ... a man's perennial.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 4:47PM
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Hi there! To let you know that it's happened a curious thing: the not-blooming miscanthus I was talking about in October just flowered! It fully opened its plumes at the end of last week.
Ok, we had a very hot Fall in Italy (at least until a couple of days ago), but it seems so odd to me that grass bloomed in mid December! Has anyone living in the hottest zones esperienced something similar?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 12:18PM
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