Muhly Grass Germination Tips: How To Grow Muhly Grass From Seed
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By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Muhly grass is a pretty, flowering native grass that grows well in warm climates throughout the southern U.S. and Pacific Northwest regions. It stands up well to a lot of conditions and requires almost no maintenance, while also producing gorgeous sprays of pink flowers. At little cost, you can grow muhly grass from seed for your yard or garden.
About Muhly Grass
Muhly grass is a native grass that is popular as an ornamental. It grows in clumps that rise to between three and five feet (1 to 1.5 meters) and spread about two to three feet (0.6 to 1 meters) across. The grass blooms profusely with purple to pink flowers that are delicate and feathery. Muhly grass is native to beaches, dunes, and flatwoods and can be grown in zones 7 through 11.
This grass is popular in yards and gardens in appropriate climates for its ornamental look but also because it is low maintenance. It tolerates both drought and flooding and has no pests. Once you get it started, the only thing you might want to do to maintain muhly grass is remove dead, brown growth in early spring as new grass fills in.
How to Plant Muhly Grass Seeds
First, choose a spot that gets full sun. Muhly grass will tolerate some shade but grows best in sun. Prepare the soil by tilling it, and if necessary, mixing in compost or other organic material to enrich it and give it a better texture.
Muhly grass seed germination requires light, so press the seeds down as you scatter them but don’t cover them in a layer of soil or compost. Keep the seeds moist until they sprout and grow into seedlings.
You can grow muhly grass from seed by starting indoors, which helps to keep the seeds warm enough. You can then move the transplants outside when the weather is right. Sowing muhly grass seeds directly outside is fine too, as long as it is past the last frost.
They will germinate best in temperatures of 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 20 Celsius).You may want to water occasionally during the first growing season, but otherwise you can leave your muhly grass alone and watch it thrive.
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Planting and Care
Muhly grass can be grown throughout Florida and is often used in borders or in mass plantings for a beautiful, drift-like effect. They should be spaced 24 to 36 inches apart.
Like most ornamental grasses, muhly grass will perform best if itвЂ™s planted in a sunny area. Water new plants until they are established. After that, theyвЂ™ll have good drought tolerance.
Plants can be cut back to the ground in late winter before the spring flush of foliage appears. You can also give the plants an application of fertilizer as they begin to grow rapidly in spring.
As the plants age, they can be lifted in early spring and divided to create new plants.
For more information on muhly grass, contact your county Extension office.
How to Propagate Muhlenbergia Capillaris Plant
Propagate this plant by sowing the seeds in large pots or trays with high-quality potting soil or seed compost.
Be sure to sow the seeds thinly otherwise, the seedlings might develop fungal diseases or grow very thinly.
Avoid covering the seeds with mulch or compost since the seeds need light for the germination process.
Instead, press the seeds tightly in the soil and keep them moist.
It is best to keep the temperatures between 60° to 68° degrees Fahrenheit (15° – 20° C).
The germination process usually takes two to four weeks to complete.
Once the seedlings appear, place the plant under direct sunlight until it establishes.
Transplant the seedlings in a small pot with gritty compost.
When it becomes a bushy plant, transfer it in the garden during the summer season.
Another attractive grass for the landscape is the purple fountain grass – Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ with purple or burgundy leaf blades.
How To Grow Muhly Grass
If you really want a versatile ornamental grass that will put on a spectacular show in your garden, then you don’t need to look further than Muhly Grass. This hardy and easy to grow grass creates a wonderful flair of showy cotton-candy pink cloud of flowers each fall. In this post you will get valuable tips on growing and caring for Muhly Grass.
What is Muhly Grass?
With the scientific name, Muhlenbergia capillaris, this plant has long foliage blades that can reach 3 to 4 feet tall and up to 3 feet wide when mature. Muhly Grass is native to Florida and the eastern half of the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this perennial plant flourishes in zones 7 through 11 and it is also hardy to Zone 6 with protection. Muhly Grass looks like normal clumps of dark-green grass throughout the growing season but it creates vibrant pink to purple billowy inflorescences in the fall. The feathery flowers float above the body of the plant in an airy display. There is also a white flowering variety. Garden designers often plant Muhly Grass in large groups for a stunning visual effect.
Preferred Site Conditions For Muhly Grass
Muhly Grass can be grown throughout Florida as a solitary plant or as mass median plantings. It is also used commonly in golf course landscaping and in rain gardens Plant several together but they should be spaced at least 24 to 36 inches apart for aesthetic impact.
Zones: 7 – 10
Moisture timing: When freshly planted, it needs supplemental irrigation to help the grass grow taller.
Soil: Tolerant of a range of soil conditions alkaline to acid, sandy soils, sandy, sandy loam. It works well even in poor soils as groundcover. Moreover this plant can tolerate salt spray generally found in coastal settings.
Light: Full sun – light shade
How to Grow Ornamental Muhly Grass
Follow these simple tips from our planting expert at Wilcox Nursery and Landscaping to enjoy great landscaping with Muhly Grass faster.
- Muhly Grass is best planted in a bright, sunny area of your garden, just like other ornamental grasses.
- Water new plants until they are established. After that, they’ll have good drought tolerance.
- Remove rocks or weeds from a bright sunny area of your garden. You must make enough space for 2 to 3 feet between the centers of each Muhly Grass clump you plant. Muhly Grass is adaptable to all soil types and areas with slow drainage, though soil that drains well is preferred.
- Dig a hole for each Muhly Grass plant about two to three times the width of the plant’s root ball and no deeper than the height of the root ball’s height.
- Turn your nursery pots of Muhly Grass on their sides, and push up on the flexible bottoms to loosen the plants before placing it in the hole, with the crown slightly above the surrounding soil.
- Water the soil to ensure the plant’s root ball is thoroughly soaked. Wait for the water to soak in, and then fill around the plants with soil and firm it with your hands. The plant will need at least an inch of water each week during the first growing season. But the soil should not be soggy.
Care of Muhly Grass
Growing Muhly Grass is easy as it requires little maintenance or upkeep. You do not have to water once the grass matures. Muhly Grass does look better and flowers abundantly with periodic supplemental irrigation during periods of drought.
Though the grass is semi-evergreen, dead growth should be moved at the base of the clump. Lift the grass blades up and gently pull the loose dead duff of brown dead leaves away from the clump. The grass will look better and this helps to keep it healthy. Note that hard pruning is not recommended for mature muhly grass.
Although usually not necessary, you can also nourish the plants in spring with a diluted by half balanced plant food and water when the soil appears dry in the top couple of inches. That’s all there is to caring for this beautiful grass.