Return to the Ornamental Grasses Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Question about Miscanthus gracillimus cutting back in spring

Posted by kentstar 5b, NE Ohio (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 11, 10 at 20:04

I have done a lot of reading into when to cut back my gracillimus, which is late winter/early spring. Everything I've read says NOT to cut back to the ground, but to about 10 to 12 inches, so that's what I did today. What I'm just wondering is why you can't cut back to the ground? Is it to protect the crown? Just curious I guess. Will it effect the blooms in fall?
Oh, btw, this will be it's 3rd year in my garden. It didn't bloom last fall, and I had cut to the ground before I knew better, and was wondering if the cutting back had anything to do with it. It did bloom the first year in ground, but not last year.

Thanks all :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Question about Miscanthus gracillimus cutting back in spring

Since spring starts officially next week, I'd say your timing is excellent :-) When I was in hort school, the instructor for the class on OG's drilled into us that cutting back of pretty much any OG can/should be done "late February/early March".

I've cut back my miscanthus (and most other deciduous grasses) as low as I could easily - usually around 4-6 inches. Leaving it higher is optional. It does nothing to benefit the plant nor does cutting it lower detract from the plant. And it will not affect blooming - that is a factor of daylength and heat. Often, warm season grasses in cooler climates do not receive sufficient heat to develop flowerheads/plumes before frost cuts them back - this is very common with late blooming selections like Miscanthus 'Gracillimus'. Even in my zone 8 climate this is not a reliable bloomer because we have very mild summers. There are other selection of miscanthus that bloom earlier - you might want to seek them out.

RE: Question about Miscanthus gracillimus cutting back in spring

Thanks gardengal! Now, I'm beginning to understand why it didn't bloom last year. I think I will look into other earlier bloomers.

RE: Question about Miscanthus gracillimus cutting back in spring

  • Posted by donn_ 7b, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 13, 10 at 19:06

I grew quite a few varieties of Miscanthus in your zone (Chagrin Falls area) and none of them bloomed reliably. I was in the heart of the snow belt, east of CF, and I had better luck with them if I cut them back in the late fall, and mulched the crowns with coarse woodchips followed by pine boughs.

I'm in what appears to be a perfect climate for Miscanthus now. I started cutting them back last week, and every one bloomed beautifully, beginning in mid-summer. This winter was a lovely zone 8 season, with lots of moisture, and nothing colder than 14F. I expect a bumper year for the grasses. My gracillimus re-seeds reliably, so I have a steady crop of new babies every year. I got a couple last year with unusually fine foliage, and I have high hopes for them this year.

RE: Question about Miscanthus gracillimus cutting back in spring

I cut mine back 4-6 inches, sometimes shorter, and it has bloomed every year thus far for me. The one in more shade blooms less than the one in more sun, but both clumps do bloom.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Ornamental Grasses Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here