Compact basal tufts of long grassy leaves give rise to attractive, woody flower panicles which are incredibly fine and airy, starting from late spring and lasting all winter. These benefit from then being cut back to the ground to encourage new flower spikes and growth from the old base and also to avoid the plant becoming too large and prostrate. This incredibly graceful plant is rare and almost unknown but really should be more widespread. It is well established in the grounds of Highlands College, Jersey, where it may be a garden escape, and also in West Kent in the UK.
Sow at any time, in a well-lit position, into a good, soil-based compost. Cover seeds thinly and keep moist at around 15 degrees C or 60 degrees F. Some New Zealand species can be very slow indeed and may need cooler temperatures before they will come up. Grass seedlings should be potted on and grown on singly, or in clumps for more rapid establishment of a large specimen.
Common name:Perennial mountain rice, Bamboo grass, Piptatherum miliaceum, Agrostis miliacea