When to plant pampas grass

Updated February 21, 2017

Pampas grass has a reputation of being both aggressive and ornamental, depending on where you live. In northern climes, gardeners seek ways to add it to their gardens, whereas, in the South, gardeners do their best to control its invasive tendencies. The grass' feathery plumes give most gardens an exotic feel and easily fill up empty spaces. In zones 8 and further south, pampas grass thrives, especially during the summer months.

Determine Available Space

Before you plant, you should determine how much space you have available for pampas grass. It grows quickly and aggressively and can choke out existing plants in your garden if you do not carefully control it. If you choose to plant it in containers, use one that is no smaller than 18 inches in diameter since it needs at least that much room to grow and thrive. If you grow from seed, start indoors in late winter. This will be in late January or February. Keep the plant indoors until you are ready to transplant.

Planting New Foliage

If you live in USDA hardiness zone 8 or above, this means you live in temperate to warmer areas with moderate winters that rarely see freezing temperatures. If you are planting seedlings you've begun indoors, plant them in an area that will receive full sun in early March, after the coolest weather has past. If you attempt to grow pampas grass north of zone 8, you risk your plants dying in the winter, especially if your area experiences hard freezes.

Clumping Existing Plants

Some plants will produce offspring, called "daughter plants" that grow next to the existing plant. Dig up these younger plants in early March, and transplant them where you desire. Clumping of existing plants means dividing adult plants after digging them up and replanting as separate plants. This is a good way to multiply your plants without having to go out and buy young plants. Pampas grass can grow up to 20 feet high, and, in late summer, the feathery flowers give it a fountain-like appearance.

Care and Fertilizing

The North Carolina State University Department of Horticulture suggests planting your pampas grass plant in full sun. If relegated to the shade, it may not grow to its full potential. Under normal circumstances, pampas does not need fertiliser if you fertilise your grass. However, if your pampas plant appears to be struggling, a fertiliser with an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 ratio is best. Apply in early March, when you plant or transplant, for best results.

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About the Author

Based in Dallas, Sophia Cross has been a writer for more than 16 years. She began her career with a local newspaper and has also worked as a realtor and social worker. Cross holds a Bachelor of Arts in history.