Grasses, so easy

Grasses are one of my favorite plants to overwinter, as they're so simple and rewarding. They need minimal care, are tolerant of periods of neglect, and well, they're grasses -- so essential in any garden! This winter I made the typical Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' (purple fountain grass) divisions to grow indoors, but also a couple of experimental "Vertigo" Pennisetum.


Besides burning where the leaf tips touched the lights, every single one of these divisions has made it through the cold, dark tunnel that is winter and come out the other side into the light that is spring.


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Now it's time to get them outdoors, freeing up so much space on the growing table, giving so much more light to everything else there -- these things do tend to hog the light.


A quick haircut to reduce the leaf area and remove the burned parts of the blades:


You can see that what was once a single-stem division...


...has become a respectable plant of its own in just under 4 months:


All I needed to do was provide a warm spot, some water, and decent light.

Even the Vertigo cuttings, which want to produce such huge plants, did okay in their limited space:


They do want to be planted deeply when I repot them (soon!), as they want to get as many roots into the soil as possible -- look at those roots:


Usually when you bring plants outdoors after weeks or months of growing under lights you need to harden them off first. I never bother with that for the grasses. They're so hardy that the abrupt switch to cold air -- even in the upper 30's F (3ÂșC or so) doesn't really bother them. I've not noticed a problem with direct sunlight burning them before either, but if it happens they'll just keep growing and I can trim off the ugly burned parts again if needed.


I did give them a nice feeding using organic lawn fertilizer and they've been enjoying a good soaking these past few days, and I expect are eager for a bit more root space. I may take a few minutes tomorrow to repot them, or maybe they'll just stay cramped for another week or so.

Whatever I do, they won't mind, will take it in stride. They're grasses!

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danger garden  – (April 4, 2014 at 10:51 PM)  

I also experimented with over wintering a "Vertigo" Pennisetum. I guess I should be having a look soon to see how it's doing.

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