Miscanthus sinensis Zebrinus commonly known as zebra grass, is a versatile foliage plant or ornamental grass which will add year-round interest to your garden. Tolerant of a variety of growing conditions, it is an ideal addition as either an accent plant in a small garden, or in mass plantings in a larger landscape. The RHS has given it its Garden Award of Merit AGM to recognize its desirability as a garden plant.
The ‘Zebrinus’ cultivar is distinguished by the creamy yellow horizontal bands marked across the long, thin green leaves, which arch up and out in a fountain shape. The foliage moves with even a slight breeze, creating even more visual interest. In the late summer, each clump sends up shoots of tall pinkish-coppery flower spikes, which mature to large, attractive plumes which remain all winter. The leaves then turn a golden-tan colour and remain decorative throughout the winter season.
Hardy to H6, Zebra grass grows to a height of 1.5 metres, with a spread of 1 metre, reaching that size in as little as 2 years. A spacing of 1.5 - 2 metres apart is recommended. Once established, it is easily propagated by division in the early spring. The only maintenance is cutting down last year’s leaves in the late winter or early spring.
Zebra grass will tolerate a wide range of well-drained soil types including sandy, chalk, loam, and clay, as well as acid, neutral, or alkaline soils, making it suitable for almost any location. While it has moderate drought tolerance once established, it prefers a moister soil. It is best grown in the full sun. It can tolerate air pollution, and thus can be a reliable performer in urban settings or close to roadways. It is pest and disease-free.
Miscanthus sinensis Zebrinus can be grown as an individual accent plant in a mixed border, or as a mass landscape feature. Its versatility is such that it can fit into a formal planting or in a wild garden or meadow equally well. It naturalizes along the edge of ponds or streams very effectively.
Because of its height and bushiness, it also can act as a screen for a patio or other outdoor sitting area, or to hide utility areas from sight, while at the same time creating considerable visual interest. You don’t even need a garden plot to grow zebra grass. It can be grown in a large container to place on a patio or balcony, to provide foliage and a natural screen!
Ornamental grasses have a place in every garden plan, large or small, and Miscanthus sinensis Zebrinus is a particularly attractive, low-maintenance option.