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A pink cloud in the garden

November 17, 2017
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

I realize not every garden has room for beautiful clumps of plants en masse, however, even a couple clumps of the stunning mushily grass plant will warm your heart every fall when it blooms.

Muhly grass, Muhlenbergia Capillaris, is a Florida native plant. It is perennial, easy care, hardy and drought tolerant, once established.

The clumps are not real big but the idea is to have several in order to have the full wispy cloud of pink to purple blooms high above a lush green base.

It does not seem to have any bug problem, and not any daily care, except once a year you may want to trim and prune around the plant in January or February, prior to new growth.

Clumps need to be watered well for a few weeks, allowing its roots to spread out into the soil. No special fertilization application is needed and it loves just about any good soil, which you would have in your garden. This means no low water areas, lots of sun and space for a mound of beauty about 3 feet wide.

Plant about 3 feet apart, and plan on a height around 4 feet.

Nitrogen would be the only problem, however this grass usually does not need any special application to increase nitrogen if soil is good.

You must have seen several places here in the Cape with a mass of these rosy purple flowers swaying in the wind. Anything that can grow in the roadway medians is a tough plant.

They only bloom in the fall. The clumps will stay green all year.

They do not need to be cut down to the soil. They can be divided by just digging up a clump and cutting them in a piece or two and replanting. Will need to water them in again.

The stiff upright habit of the green spikes with the colorful blooms is very attractive, from any angle.

You will need to find them in a big box store, nursery or even online. You need to make sure you are buying the color you want and also that you are buying the right type of plant. There are a large number of species and cultivars available. Ornamental grass is a catch all phrase to describe, not only true grasses but related "grasslike" plants as well.

Also available is a plant called White Cloud - white flowers, of course.

A hybrid called Pink Flamingo is also available with the flowers being plump and just as upright.

Happy gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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