Zebra grass is a popular ornamental grass that is also known by its formal botanical name of Miscanthus sinensis. It is actually a member of the bamboo family, and as such serves well as an accent or border in a garden or landscape setting. Zebra grass can grow up to eight feet in height and four feet in width at maturity, and displays deep green and vibrant yellow bands, with stiff upright leaves that can wave and flop in the presence of breezy conditions. When in bloom, Zebra grass produces small creamy blossoms that add a lovely accent amongst the tall grass stems. Zebra grass is easy to grow and even easier to maintain, and as such is an excellent choice for those who are new to landscape gardening. Follow these tips to successfully grow Zebra grass for your own home garden or landscape design.
Like most ornamental grasses, Zebra grass prefers full sunlight conditions in which to grow. Zebra grass is very tolerant of varying soil conditions, and soil pH can vary as much as from 5.8 to 8.0 without ill effect. Zebra grass tolerates drought, standing water, heat, and humidity conditions well, and grows enthusiastically in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 9. However, for the best results when newly establishing Zebra grass, plant in a location where there is access to at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, soil is moist with excellent drainage, and there is plenty of room for Zebra grass to grow.
Zebra grass will thrive when planted in the spring or fall season. Enrich the soil in which Zebra grass will be planted with organic matter, manure, or compost, and soil enrichment should extend down one and a half feet to nourish root systems as they grow. Thoroughly rake over and through the soil to break up soil clumps and air pockets and remove rocks. This will further assist Zebra grass with quickly establishing a healthy root system. Plant new Zebra grass approximately a week and a half after preparing the soil bed. Gently prepare the new root ball by working the roots free and, if the root ball is extremely root bound, making a few cuts with a knife to free up the roots to dig into the soil. Plant the root ball in a hole that is twice the width and as deep as the root ball itself, then gently fill in with enriched soil around the new root ball and water well.
Zebra grass is considered to be easy to grow and care for. As Zebra grass grows, it will be important to keep the area free from weeds and debris, which can encourage pests and disease, and compete with Zebra grass for available nutrients. Zebra grass is resistant to most garden visitors such as rabbits and deer, and can be planted safely in windy areas or on slopes. Zebra grass cut flowers are popular for arrangements, and should be harvested in the early morning.