How to Care for Zebra Grass

Updated April 14, 2018

Zebra grass is the common name for the plant Miscanthus sinensis Zebrinus, a tall ornamental grass that gets its name from the yellow stripes that occur along the green blades. In the fall, the top of each stalk produces a feathery plum that is orange or copper coloured. Zebra grass is a perennial species that re-blooms each year as long as the proper care is provided to keep it healthy.

Water zebra grass two to three times per week for the first year following planting to keep the soil most until the roots establish themselves in the soil. Increase watering daily during the peak of summer if the top of the soil feels dry. From the second year onward, reduce watering to only when no rainfall occurs and drought conditions develop.

Apply a balanced, granular fertiliser in the spring if the zebra grass looked thin or ragged the previous growing season. Use only the amount specified on the fertiliser bag, and use a fertiliser for flowers and shrubs, not one for lawns and grass. If the zebra grass was vibrant and healthy the prior growing season, skip fertilising.

Wait until the very early spring and prune back zebra grass to improve the appearance and prepare for new green growth. Use pruning shears to cut all of the dead, brown grass blades down to between 4 and 6 inches above the ground.

Prune back overhanging tree branches and tall shrubs to prevent them from shading out the zebra grass. Although zebra grass can tolerate partial shade, it does not do well in full-shade conditions.


Zebra grass thrives in United States Department of Agricultural hardiness zones 5 through 7.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Balanced, granular fertiliser
  • Pruning shears
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About the Author

Samantha McMullen began writing professionally in 2001. Her nearly 20 years of experience in horticulture informs her work, which has appeared in publications such as Mother Earth News.