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Miscanthus Sinensis Strictus or Porcupine Grass Strictus
Miscanthus sinensis is a hardy, perennial, upright, and clump-forming ornamental grass. These characteristics make it ideally suited for small or large gardens alike. Considered a semi-evergreen, Miscanthus Sinensis Strictus is an especially interesting specimen with a year-round interest displaying a unique colouring habit.
Many forms of this plant have been selected over the years. Strictus, also known as Porcupine Grass or Japanese Silver Grass in some circles, is a particularly striking variety. While variegation is an interesting and common form of many ornamentals, the Strictus variety exhibits a banded variegation, which is something of an anomaly from a botanical perspective. Though not that noticeable as the plant awakens in the spring, as the summer approaches, these bands turn a rich, buttery yellow, giving a pleasant effect to its cascading habit when flowing in full sunshine. In autumn, showy plumes of pink flowers emerge on long stalks and linger architecturally in dried form throughout the winter.
With origins in Asia, this beauty belongs to the Family Poaceae, and the Genus Miscanthus. Miscanthus can occur as a deciduous or evergreen grass, with either a tufted or spreading habit. They will always have erect stems and bear arching leaves that are linear in appearance. The spikelets are known for their silky texture that emerge in late summer or into autumn. The Miscanthus Sinensis Strictus variety is similar to its close relative Miscanthus sinensis Zebrinus but is smaller in spread, with a more upright stature, making it a particularly useful specimen grass in smaller spaces. Combined with the distinctive ‘bars’, the leaves of Porcupine Grass Strictus actually appear more numerous and somewhat brighter than Zebrinis or Zebra Grass.
Hardy to Zone H6 in the UK and Ireland, Porcupine Grass Strictus prefers a south facing, full sun aspect. In priority, your next choices would be to the north, west or east facing. It tolerates either exposed or sheltered exposures and prefers well drained soils that can also hold their moisture. Avoid soils that tend to become soggy and cold in the winter. Textures can be most any mix, sand, clay, chalk and loam all being quite acceptable as long as they drain well. Porcupine Grass Strictus is not terribly choosy regarding pH. Choose a site that is near neutral, slightly acidic or slightly alkaline. Its habit enables an ultimate height of 1.5-2.5 metres, and a spread of between 0.1-0.5 metres in the 2-5 years it takes to reach physiological maturity.
Some suggested locations include as a flower border, or in beds located in your architectural city or patio garden. Their natural look also makes for a beautiful informal garden location. As an added bonus, Miscanthus Sinensis Strictus is virtually disease and insect pest free.
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