Ornamental grasses can look lovely in the landscape, particularly when they add a touch of color.
LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill says Gulf Coast muhly or pink muhly grass can add grace and colorful tints of pink to your yard.
A Texas native, pink muhly grass blooms in the fall. The Latin name is Muhlenbergia capillaris, and it gets capillaris because of its very fine texture.
We don’t usually grow ornamental grasses for their beautiful flowers, Gill says. But this one has strikingly lovely, very delicate, airy panicles of flowers with a burgundy pink color.
“It catches the light in the most wonderful way,” Gill says, adding it also looks lovely when the wind catches it. “Any kind of breeze or wind at all makes it wave and move beautifully.”
This plant gets to be relatively large, growing about 6 feet tall and spreading to a good 3- to 4-feet wide. It’s great in your average garden beds, and it’s adaptable to wetter areas as well.
Pink muhly grass grows well in a nice sunny location, but it will take a little a bit of shade during the day. The grasses get stockier and fuller — and they bloom much better — when they get plenty of sun.
The foliage is round and fine and has a bluish-green color. It’s semi-evergreen and doesn’t go completely dormant in the wintertime.
October is a great time to plant pink muhly grass into your landscape. You can find it in local nurseries now.
An animal digs up my bulbs at night. What can I do to stop this? Black pepper over each bulb? — Lois
Fortunately, this is not a common problem in our area. Squirrels may be the culprits. After you replant the bulbs, cover the area with a section of chicken wire, anchor it down with U pins and cover it with a couple of inches of mulch. The chicken wire will prevent the squirrels from getting to the bulbs.
When they start to grow, the bulbs will grow up through the chicken wire and bloom in spring. — Dan Gill
Got a gardening question? Write to GardenNews@agcenter.lsu.edu.