It's a flop

Today I want to talk about a failure. A plant that I've been really happy with for the last couple of years, but only now has revealed its true, ugly nature.

The plant I'm talking about is a grass that I unfortunately don't have a great photo of: Miscanthus sinensis 'Silberpfeil'. It's the light-colored variegated grass in this month-old photo.


I received a small division of this grass in 2011 in a plant trade with Gerhard at Bamboo, Succulents, and More -- here's one of his posts about this grass.

Up until yesterday this has been a showcase plant in my garden, growing much larger than I thought it would, and looking fantastic next to the related 'Gracillimus'. Gerhard talked about this plant being floppy though, which I have not seen evidence of.

Until yesterday morning when I saw this:

We had gotten a good, heavy rain during the night (an inch or more), and that was more than this grass could handle:

Now, I've got four choices for what to do next: 1) nothing, and hope the grass will pull itself back upright  2) give it a good trimming so it will look better in a few weeks, 3) support the grass somehow to keep it upright, or 4) remove the whole thing because it's going to be a problem every year.

I think I'll go with option #2 for now, with an eye on #4. Supporting (#3) could work if done correctly, but that really works best when you have some support in place that the grass can grow up through -- typing up a grass makes it look bunched and unnatural to me.

I hate it when beautiful plants take years to reveal their weaknesses!

Do you have any frustrating plants like this in your garden this year?


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Barbie  – (July 31, 2013 at 9:02 AM)  

I agree - number 2!! Looks like you are overfeeding it! :-) like I overfeed my chickens!! Plump and fluffy!

Alan  – (July 31, 2013 at 9:24 AM)  

Barbie: I wish it were something I did, but if zero feeding is too much then there's not much hope for this plant. :)

scottweberpdx  – (July 31, 2013 at 1:48 PM)  

UGH! Yes, I have several plants that I have to stake (far too many, really). Since I get so little sun, and we have such long, cool, wet springs...plants tend to grow tall and lush...but are weak and will flop later on. Most of my grasses are generally ok...but the heavy rains in autumn often collapse them. I have one Miscanthus that flops every year...I stake it early (although I need to add a second level of ties right about now as it starts blooming). I use two thick bamboo stakes behind the plant about a foot apart, then run twine around the grass, fastening to each stake. If I do it before it gets floppy, you don't even notice it....well, too much ;-)

Denise  – (July 31, 2013 at 2:02 PM)  

Option 2 must do the trick. It seems to work with most floppy perennials.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 31, 2013 at 7:47 PM)  

Alan, based on my experience, if it's just rain it'll be upright again in a hurry. At least give it a try.

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