By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Who doesn’t love maiden grass? Ornamental grass lovers usually have one or more varieties in their collection. Adagio is an outstanding maiden grass with low maintenance and exceptional tolerance for a variety of conditions. Plus, its long bloom period enhances the garden with the feathery pink blooms.
Choosing ornamental grasses can be difficult due to the many sizes, forms and specific needs. Miscanthus ‘Adagio’ care is minimal, allowing the gardener to enjoy the beautiful plumes without spending a lot of time on the plant.
Arching a graceful 3 to 4 feet (.91 to 1.2 m.), the lovely grass is a dwarf maiden grass. Mature plants can have dozens of airy plumes starting out pink and fading to white. The foliage is also a standout. Blades are slender, silver green and turn orange, burgundy and gold in fall. The plant is also known as Chinese or Japanese silver grass due to the spectacular foliage tones.
An Asian native, it has adapted readily to many regions of the United States with a USDA zone range of 5 to 9. The clumping form produces a fountain of leaves topped from summer to winter with the attractive plumes. The feathery inflorescences persist in winter, turning beige and dry, seed heads of interest to several species of wild birds.
This plant prefers full sun to part shade. However, in areas with less than 6 hours of sunlight the plant will tend to get floppy and blooms will diminish. Almost any soil from moist clay to dry, sandy compositions are acceptable. While the plant can tolerate short periods of drought, best growth comes in a moist location. Adagio spreads through rhizomes but usually keeps a tidy habit as it grows. In some gardens, the plant may become invasive and will self-seed. The seedlings are one way to grow more of this attractive plant but division is another. Divide plants in winter when they are dormant. Dig up the root mass and cut the plant into 2 or 3 sections, each equipped with roots.
Adagio is useful in large containers, mass plantings or as single specimens. The sunlight filtering through the foliage creates a bold, dazzling effect. The pests that primarily affect the grass are mealybugs, spider mites, aphids and fungus gnat larvae. Usually, these do not cause significant damage.
Anthracnose, a disease of many types of plants, may cause foliar damage. One task that keeps the plant looking its best is removing the old foliage prior to new blade arrival. In late winter, gather all the foliage into a net of string, much like a ponytail, and neatly whack it off. This allows the silvery new growth to shine at its best.
Adagio maiden grass requires little other special care. A nice organic mulch around the roots will protect plant roots growing in marginally cold regions.
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Read more about Maiden Grass
Miscanthus sinensis 'Adagio' (Eulalia 'Adagio') will reach a height of 1.2m and a spread of 1.2m after 2-5 years.
Architectural, Beds and borders, City, Containers, Cottage/Informal, Flower Arranging, Low Maintenance, Mediterranean, Prairie planting
Tolerates many conditions but prefers moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Easily tolerates partial shade. Protect from excessive winter wet. Divide in spring. May be slow to establish after transplanting.
Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)
Moist but well-drained, Well-drained
Miscanthus sinensis 'Adagio'
Eulalia 'Adagio', Japanese silver grass 'Adagio', Maiden grass 'Adagio'
'Adagio' _ 'Adagio' is a compact, clump-forming, deciduous, perennial grass bearing upright to arching, narrowly linear, grey-green leaves turning yellow in autumn and feathery panicles of pale pink to creamy-white flower spikelets held well above the foliage in late summer and early autumn.
Upright, Compact, Clump-forming, Arching
Maiden grass is an ornamental grass that can grow as tall as 6 feet high and spread to be 4 feet wide at the top. It is a fast-growing plant and an easy one to get started. Choosing the right spot, digging an appropriate-sized hole and taking precautions when back-filling will lead to a successful plant that will thrive all season.
Choose a place to plant your maiden grass. Maiden grass should be planted in a spot that receives full sunlight all day. It should also be planted where the ground has enough drainage to avoid any sitting water on or around the maiden grass.
Choose the right time to plant. Maiden grass should be planted in the early spring, as soon as possible after the ground stops freezing. Planting maiden grass any earlier will kill it, but you want to give the maiden grass plenty of time to take root and begin growing before the most intense heat of the summer reaches your area.
Dig a hole roughly three times as big as the root clump at the base of the maiden grass. The hole should also be 2 inches deeper than the root clump, allowing for space to adjust the plant after you place it in the hole.
Spread the roots gently by hand to allow them to grow off in their own directions. When the maiden grass is purchased, the roots will have a tendency to clump together. Spreading the roots will ensure your grass will get the maximum amount of nutrients it needs.
Place your maiden grass in the hole. Make sure the maiden grass is straight from all angles and then begin to put soil back in the hole. Break up the soil thoroughly and pat it down with force to prevent air pockets. Run lots of water over the soil to help it settle and get your maiden grass on its way to growing.