Korean Feather Reed Grass Info – Learn How To Grow Korean Reed Grass

Korean Feather Reed Grass Info – Learn How To Grow Korean Reed Grass

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By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

For a real jaw dropper, try growing Korean feather grass. This narrow clumping plant has architectural appeal combined with soft, romantic movement via its flower-like plumes. If you live in a deer grazing area, the plant is also not on that ruminants menu. If your interest is piqued, read on for more Korean feather reed grass info.

Korean Feather Reed Grass Info

Korean feather reed grass is scientifically described as Calamagrostis brachytricha. It is native to temperate Asia but performs well in gardens located through USDA zones 4 to 9. This hardy plant is a warm season grass that does most of its growth spring through summer. Unlike many ornamental grasses, this plant prefers a moist location. Try growing Korean feather grass around a pond, water feature or in an area with light afternoon shade.

This feather reed grass is medium sized at only 3 to 4 feet (.91 to 1.2 m.) tall. It is a mounding grass with deeply green blades up to ¼ inch (.64 cm.) wide. In fall the foliage turns a light yellow, accenting the plumed inflorescences. In late summer, pink fluffy blooms rise above the foliage.

The plumes mature to tan as the seeds ripen and will last well into winter, providing unique vertical eye appeal and important wild bird food. Another name for the plant is foxtail grass due to these thick, plump plumes.

How to Grow Korean Reed Grass

Korean reed grass prefers partial to full shade. The grass will tolerate full sun if it receives adequate moisture. Soil may be almost any composition but should hold moisture and be fertile.

The plant self-seeds but is seldom a nuisance. Remove the plumes before the seeds become ripe if the plant spreads too readily.

Korean feather reed grass looks impressive when planted en masse or can stand alone in containers or perennial beds. This reed grass will perform exceptionally well around any water feature. Its roots are fibrous and most are near the surface of the soil, easily harvesting rainfall or irrigation water.

Care of Korean Feather Reed Grass

Korean reed grass is very low maintenance, a welcome trait in ornamental plants. It has few pest or disease problems, although fungal spots can occur in prolonged periods of wet, warm weather.

The flowery plumes last into early winter but take a beating in areas of heavy snow and wind. Lop them off with the rest of the foliage to within 6 inches (15 cm.) of the crown in late winter to early spring. Removing the battered leaves and flowering stems lets the new growth have room and enhances the appearance of the plant.

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Read more about Feather Reed Grass

Zoysiagrass grows in a wide area across the southern United States and its growing range extends through U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 6 through 11, though individual cultivars often have a narrower range. It has maximum growth during the growing season when temperatures are between about 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Regardless of planting location, zoysiagrass experiences a wintertime dormancy, turning brown each fall. Zoysiagrass grows best in full sunlight, though it may also succeed in areas of the yard with light shade. Thinning out branches that overhang the grass encourages healthy growth.

Plants→Calamagrostis→Korean Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis arundinacea)

Common names:
Korean Feather Reed Grass
Achy Breaky Heart Grass
Diamond Grass
Fall Blooming Reed Grass
Botanical names:
Calamagrostis arundinaceaAccepted
Stipa brachytrichaSynonym
Calamagrostis brachystrichaSynonym
Calamagrostis arundinacea var. brachystrichaSynonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Plant Height : 24 inches, 36-48 inches in bloom
Plant Spread : 24-36 inches
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Mauve
Multi-Color: Open with pink-lavender tones and age to a creamy brown
Bloom Size: 6"-12"
Flower Time: Late summer or early fall
Uses: Provides winter interest
Cut Flower
Dried Flower
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger

One of my favorite grasses. The foliage looks compact and unassuming for most the season, not unattractive but not showy either. In late summer, usually early September, the plant sends up the most amazing, airy foxtail-like plumes that start out with pink-lavender tones and then slowly age to a warm creamy-tan color. The plumes collect morning dew which then shimmers when caught in sunlight. Also looks amazing when backlit by the sun. When in full bloom, the plant is gracefully arching. It is not at all floppy, even when growing in shade, but is much more graceful than the stiffly upright, rigid 'Karl Foerster' which is a close relative of the grass.

Performs well in both sun and dappled shade, but if growing in sun it needs to have consistently moist soil. This grass is a "sleeper" which draws raves when in bloom yet doesn't seem to be commonly planted. Maybe because it doesn't look very exciting when out of flower and growing in a nursery pot and people tend to overlook it?

This grass is very well behaved with very slowly expanding clumps. It can be propagated by seeds but I have never noticed any self sowing tendencies.

One of the prettiest grasses and its late flowering season makes it all the more valuable. A true winner!

How To Propagate Calamagrostis Arundinacea

Propagate with seeds or division.

The seeds appear after the flowers start to wilt.

  • Collect the seed pods after they ripen and turn a dark brown color.
  • Allow the pods to dry thoroughly before opening.
  • Separate the debris and seeds, storing the seeds in an envelope or paper bag.
  • Start the seeds in small pots several weeks before the last threat of frost.
  • Use regular potting soil and keep it moist.
  • After the seedlings appear, wait for several leaves to develop before transplanting outdoors or to larger pots.

The easier propagation method is division.

  • Separate a mature clump in the fall or spring.
  • The clump should have at least six growing points near the base.
  • If the mound has fewer growing points, it may not bloom during the first year.
  • Carefully dig up the soil around the mature plant.
  • Lift it from the soil and shake off some of the loose dirt.
  • Separate the mound into two or more sections, ensuring each section has multiple clumps of grass.
  • Place the divided sections in pots or directly in the ground, providing 2′ to 3′ feet of spacing between each plant.
  • The soil should remain moist throughout the rest of the season, ensuring the young plants receive plenty of hydration.

Keep It Alive

  • Plant ornamental grasses in well-drained soil after tilling it to remove weeds (which are trickier to eliminate after grasses become established and provide camouflage for them).
  • Calamagrostis prefers damp soil, making it a good choice at the edge of a natural swimming pool, on the banks of a pond, or in a boggy corner of a backyard.
  • In late winter, cut back last year’s growth to a height of six inches.
Above: Calamagrostis brachytricha. Photograph by Dominicus Johannes Bergsma via Wikimedia.

See more growing tips in Feather Reed Grass: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design in our curated design guides to Grasses 101. Read more:

Watch the video: Ornamental Grasses - Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass


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