Pampas Grass Care – How To Grow Pampas Grass

Most people are familiar with the large clumps of lush, grass-like foliage and creamy white feathery plumes of pampas grass (though pink varieties are available too). Pampas grass (Cortaderia) is an attractive ornamental grass that is popular in many landscapes. While they’re extremely easy to grow, however, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before planting pampas grass around the home. Don’t be so quick to plant it simply because it looks good. It’s actually a very fast grower and can become quite large, anywhere from 5 and 10 feet high and wide, and even invasive.

How to Grow Pampas Grass

Before growing pampas grass, be sure to put it somewhere in the landscape where it has plenty of room to grow, especially when planting more than one. When mass planting pampas grass, you’ll have to space them about 6 to 8 feet apart.

Pampas grass enjoys areas with full sun but will

tolerate partial shade. It also tolerates a wide range of soil types but prefers moist, well-draining soil. Another plus side to growing pampas grass is its tolerance of drought, wind, and salt sprays—which is why you commonly see the plant along coastal regions.

The grass is hardy in USDA zones 7-11, but in well protected areas, it can also be grown in Zone 6. It’s not suited for cold regions unless grown in pots and brought indoors over winter and replanted outdoors in spring. Due to its large size, however, this isn’t really practical.

How to Care for Pampas Grass

Once established, pampas grass care is minimal, requiring little maintenance other than watering in extreme drought. It should also be pruned each year to the ground. This is usually performed in late winter or early spring. Because of the plant’s sharp foliage, the task of pruning should be done with great care using gloves and a long-sleeved shirt.

However, with appropriate measures taken (for clumps well away from homes and buildings), you can also burn the foliage down to the green growth without any harm to the plant.

While not required, pampas grass can be given a balanced fertilizer following pruning to help stimulate regrowth.

Propagating Pampas Grass

Pampas grass is usually propagated through division in spring. Pruned clumps can be sliced through with a shovel and replanted elsewhere. Normally, only female plants are propagated. Pampas grass bears male and female plumes on separate plants, with females being the most common among varieties grown. They are much showier then their male counterparts with fuller plumes (flowers) of silk-like hairs, of which the males do not have.

Complete Guide to Pampas Grass: How to Plant & Care for “Cortaderia Selloana”

If you want to bring a new dynamic to your garden, then try planting pampas grass. This ornamental grass is popular in American gardens, even though it’s technically an invasive species.

Pampas grass produces thousands of seeds at the end of the growing season, and strong winds can carry the seeds over lengthy distances. Pampas grass germinates in a variety of climate conditions, and almost any soil mixture.

Once pampas grass establishes itself, it can take over the area within a season. However, prudent gardeners can keep pampas grass under control with some end-of-season maintenance. Both South Carolina and California list pampas grass as an invasive species, and it’s also in the global invasive-species database.

Growing Pampas Grass

Still, pampas grass is beautiful and complements other plants in your garden. The grass also makes a fantastic filler for areas of the garden that look sparse, such as around the pool or the corners of your yard.

All your pampas grass needs to thrive, is a sunny growing site, with fertile soil. We outlined a brief growing guide for pampas grass to give you an idea of the techniques used to manage these grasses in your yard.

It’s crucial for you to plant your grass in the early spring, as planting in the fall or winter may impede its growth the following summer season.

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Starting with Seed

Unlike most other plants, growing pampas grass from seed is easy. All you need to do is select your variety, and then sow your seeds in the early springtime. Pick a spot in your yard that receives direct sunlight all day, and sow your seeds.

Don’t cover the seeds with soil, as the heat from the sunlight and a light watering are all the seeds need to germinate. We suggest that you give the soil a light raking before you sow your seeding. Raking the ground loosens the soil, providing aeration to the roots of the grass, allowing it to thrive.

Pampas Grass Plant Seeds Available on Amazon

However, if you live in an area with plenty of birds, you’ll need to cover the planting area with netting to stop the birds from eating your seeds. If you don’t have any netting, then you can start your seeds in pots or trays indoors and then transplant to the garden after it gets to an inch in height.

Starting your seeds indoors is also a good idea if you live in colder regions of the United States. Mix up a growing medium using sol and perlite in a 2:1 ratio.

By adding perlite to the soil, you get better drainage. Always ensure that your container has adequate drainage, and wet soil may cause root rot in your grass.

Choosing the Right Planting Site for Your Pampas Grass

When selecting the ideal spot in your yard for your pampas grass, you need to take into account the final height and width of the grass flowerbed you plant. Pampas grass grows wide and tall, and if you don’t account for the growth, it could result in the area looking cluttered.

Select an area of your yard that receives full sunlight throughout the day. Planting in shady areas is possible with pampas grass, but you need to be aware that the lack of sunlight will affect the final height of the grass, and some species might not flower without direct sunlight all day.

Avoid planting your pampas grass next to the driveway or the road. This grass grows tall and wide, and it may obstruct your view of the road and the driver’s view of your driveway. Don’t plant the grass near any air-conditioning units, as the blades of grass might end up caught in the machines fan.

Make sure that you keep the grass away for any areas of the yard where children play. Pampas grass looks beautiful when flowering, but the leaves have razor-sharp edges, and children might cut themselves if they try to pull on the grass or fall into the grass by mistake.

If you’re transplanting pampas grass, then dig a hole that’s the width and height of the plant’s root system. Place some mulch or fertilized potting soil in the hole, and then add the grass. Pampas grass doesn’t need lots of fertilizer to grow tall and healthy.

Use your hands to separate the root ball before planting, and gently pat down the soil around the roots after planting. Water the grass thoroughly to reduce transplant shock.

Caring for Your Pampas Grass

Always water your newly planted grass thoroughly after transplanting. The roots require plenty of moisture to recover from the stress of the transplant. Failing to water your pampas grass could stunt its growth, or cause it to die.

Ensure that you keep the soil uniformly moist. Push your finger an inch into the soil. If it feels moist, then your grass is fine. However, if it’s dry, it means that the roots aren’t getting the moisture they need.

During the first year after planting, fertilize your grass in the early spring, early summer, and at the beginning of the fall. After the first year of growth, cut back on your fertilizing protocol, and only fertilize the grass in the early spring.

It might take up to 3-years for your grass to establish itself and bloom. Every year, you’ll need to prune away old grass and trim the roots of grasses that are becoming wild and overgrowing in the planting site.

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Dividing Pampas Grass

You can propagate your pampas grass in late August to early September before the winter rolls around. However, we recommend that you do your propagation in the early springtime, after the last frosts land on the ground. Check your local listing for frost dates in your area and plan accordingly.

Propagating in the early spring gives the pampas grass the entire growing season to grow a strong root system. Follow these steps when propagating your pampas grass.

  • Cut the grass back to 1 to 2-feet in length until you can see the base of the plant.
  • Examine the stems of the grass at the soil level.
  • You should see that shoots are forming at the base.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut away the new growth from the middle of the plant.
  • Plant your new grass clumps at a similar depth to what they were used to with the mother plant.
  • Water thoroughly to reduce transplant shock.
  • Always make sure you wear gloves and a shirt, as you might cut yourself on the sharp edges of the grass.

Pests and Diseases Affecting Pampas Grass

Pampas grass is an invasive species. Therefore, it does not serve as a food source for any animals like deer and rabbits. Many insects and birds like to nest in the grass, so be careful when propagating in the early springtime.

Pampas grass does occasionally experience an infection with a fungus that shows up as spots. This fungus typically arrives during warm and rainy parts of the season. Use a general plant fungicide to treat the infection and restore your pampas grass to health.

Ornamental and Decorative Purposes

Pampas grass is popular as it creates an ornamental feature in your garden. This decorative grass produces large plumes of flowers that look attractive. Pampas grass is ideal for planting in the western states, as the plant is hardy and drought-resistant.

If you live close to the ocean, pampas grass is ideal for planting around your yard, as the salty air doesn’t damage the grass. Many hotels and guesthouses on the beach use pampas grass as a windbreak and for beach-front landscapes.

Pampas grass grows anywhere from 6 to 13-foot tall, and it spreads to a width of the same height in most cases. Use this grass to create privacy around your patio or pool, and plant it in the corners of your yard to give your garden a seamless look and feel.

Overwintering Pampas Grass

Pampas grass can survive the cold months of winter, and even snowfall provided that you prepare it for the winter season.

During the last days of fall, cut back any old foliage to make room for new growth the following season. We recommend long-handle loopers for trimming your pampas grass. Make sure you remove all of the flower stalks that are blooming, as the seeds may spread into your neighbor’s yard and start to grow wild.

Remove any stalks that are over 1-foot in height. Before you trim, use string to tie the plant together. This process helps to drain any excess water from the plant before cutting. If you live in a region of the United States, then you can overwinter your pampas grass without any hassle.

Spread mulch around the base of the plant and cover it with burlap to provide the grass with protection from the cold. Remove the burlap in the early springtime after the last frosts fall. Using this method, the roots of your pampas grass stay warm and dry during the wintertime, ensuring that your plant survives the season and thrives the following summer.

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Pampas grass growing herbaceous of the genus Cortaderia also known as Cortaderia selloana, Pampas grass perennial evergreen or cold deciduous used as ornamental drought tolerant cut flower plant can grow in mediterranean, desert, subtropics, temperate or tropics climate and growing in hardiness zone 7+.

Leaves color green in linear shape the size can be 1-2 m.

Pampas grass flower

Flower color white, the flowers structure like feather or tail of horse and grow stem in raceme inflorescence.

Pampas grass for sale – Seeds or Plants to Buy

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Pampas grassGrowing Pampas grass

How to grow Pampas grass growing and care:

Well-drained soil

What is the best way to start growing?
Plant / Vegetative Reproduction

Is it necessary to use vegetative reproduction?
No but easy

Difficulties or problems when growing:

Planting season:
All year, in cold climate spring-summer

Pests and diseases:

Pruning season:
All year

How to prune:
Just for design

Size of the plant?
1-3 m, 3-10 feet

Growth speed in optimal condition:
Fast growing / Medium growing

Water requirement:
Small amount of water

Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Full Sun / Half Shade

Is it possible to grow as houseplant?

Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers:

Blooming information

Bloom season:
All year in cold climate not in the winter

General information about the flower
White flowers structure like feather or tail of horse and grow stem in raceme inflorescence.

Scientific name:

Cortaderia selloana

Blooming Seasons

  • Autumn flowers
  • Spring flowers
  • Summer flowers
  • Winter flowers

Flower Colors

  • White flower


  • Desert Climate
  • Mediterranean Climate
  • Subtropics Climate
  • Temperate Climate

Ornamental parts

  • Ornamental flower
  • Ornamental leaves
  • Ornamental plant

Plant growing speed

  • Average growing plants
  • Fast growing plants

Plant life-form

  • Evergreen
  • Herbaceous
  • Perennial plant

Plant uses

  • Drought tolerant plants
  • Hedging plants
  • Ornamental plants

Planting season

  • Autumn Planting
  • Spring Planting
  • Summer planting
  • Winter planting

Plants sun exposure

  • Full sun Plants
  • Part shade Plants

Watering plants

  • Small amounts of water

Hardiness zone

  • Hardiness zone 10
  • Hardiness zone 11
  • Hardiness zone 12
  • Hardiness zone 13
  • Hardiness zone 7
  • Hardiness zone 8
  • Hardiness zone 9

The striking, feathery blooms of pampas grass are prized by floral arrangers and gardeners alike. It’s even been used by float decorators for the annual Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California since the early 1900’s!

Named for its original home in the grassy plains of Pampas, Argentina, this tall ornamental grass was first introduced to Europe sometime between 1775-1862. It arrived in California in about 1848, going into commercial production shortly thereafter, and has become a common sight in coastal areas. In the 1940’s, it was even planted to help prevent erosion.

But if it’s not kept in check, this tall landscape grass is known to spread like wildfire – and may become a fire hazard itself. Here, you’ll find ways to manage your pampas grass plants, and to ensure that your plants flourish in garden beds or containers.

Pampas Grass Overview

Pampas Grass-covered horse-drawn wagon in 1903 Tournament of Roses Parade. source

Common Name(s) Pampas grass, tussock grass, cortadera, paina, pluma
Scientific Name Cortaderia
Family Poaceae
Origin South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay)
Height 4-10 feet depending on variety
Light Full sun to partial shade
Water Low to moderate
Temperature 65-90 °F
Humidity Drought-tolerant to high humidity
Soil Well drained sandy loam is ideal, but tolerates other soil types
Fertilizer None to balanced medium
Propagation By seed or division, may be invasive
Pests None, but may house pests

Types of Pampas Grass

While the majority of pampas grass falls into the selloana species and subdivides into roughly 25 varietals, there are other species that also use the common name pampas grass. Here are some varieties of Cortaderia selloana, as well as two “imposter” plant types.

Cortaderia selloana ‘Aureolineata’, ‘Gold Band’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Aureolineata’, ‘Gold Band’. source

This is a slow-growing, compact evergreen pampas grass which grows to a height of about 6 feet. Its name references its slender leaves which have narrow stripes of yellow. The flowers range from white to a golden tan in color. Tolerant of both heat and cold, and more compact and erect than the ‘Monvin’ varietal, it’s well suited to container gardening.

Cortaderia selloana ‘Albolineata’. ‘Silver Stripe’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Albolineata’. ‘Silver Stripe’.source

This white pampas grass is similar in most ways to Gold Band, but features white stripes along its leaves and is topped with a white feathery pannicle of flowers with a silver sheen.

Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’, ‘Dwarf Pampas Grass’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’, ‘Dwarf Pampas Grass’. source

Dwarf pampas grass that flowers in a range from pale yellow to ivory. It grows to a maximum height of about 1.5 meters, or 4.9 feet. Some suppliers offer non-reseeding plants to reduce the risk of invasive spread. Well suited to container planting.

Cortaderia selloana ‘Sunningdale Silver’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Sunningdale Silver’. source

This variety of white pampas grass features silvery flowers which are not impacted much by rainfall, as their pannicles are not as dense and less prone to clumping. Also marketed as Sundale Silver, the stems can grow to 10 feet in height, which makes it quite impressive.

Cortaderia selloana ‘Rendatleri’, ‘Pink Feather’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Rendatleri’, ‘Pink Feather’. source

While many inferior seedlings are sold as pink pampas grass, this is the true pink-flowered pampas. Its rosy pink blooms spring from tightly-clumped foliage from midsummer through autumn, and it grows to an average height of 8 feet. Be sure to specifically search for Rendatleri for stunning pink blooms!

Cortaderia selloana ‘Silver Fountain’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Silver Fountain’. source

This white pampas grass features densely-packed long, green leaves which have white stripes like Silver Stripe. It produces large heads of silky, silvery flowers on 2-meter tall stems in the late summer.

Cortaderia selloana ‘Splendid Star’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Splendid Star’.

A dwarf varietal, the Splendid Star has brilliant golden-streaked leaves. This hardy pampas grass grows well in containers or makes a good border plant. The flower stalks are filled with fluffy white pannicles.

Cortaderia selloana ‘Monvin’, ‘Sun Stripe’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Monvin’, ‘Sun Stripe’. source

An excellent border plant, Monvin has several yellow stripes along its leaves, and shoots up 6 to 7-foot tall plumes tipped with silvery-white flower pannicles in the fall. Also commonly used as a windbreak.

Cortaderia selloana ‘Patagonia’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Patagonia’. source

Unusual for the species, the Patagonia produces bluish gray-green foliage in tight tussocks. Its flowers rise to six feet and are full of feathery and silver-white flowers in the fall.

Cortaderia selloana ‘Silver Comet’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Silver Comet’. source

The Silver Comet is grown more for its beautiful leaves than its flowers. The leaves feature white striations along their edges. Its white flower plumes barely crest above the leaves, and often are removed to heighten the distinctive look of the leaves. 4-6 feet in height.

Cortaderia jubata ‘Purple Pampas Grass’, ‘Andean Pampas Grass’

Cortaderia jubata ‘Purple Pampas Grass’, ‘Andean Pampas Grass’. source

Not a selloana species, Cortadera jubata is referred to as purple pampas grass or Andean pampas grass. This pampas relative can grow to an incredible seven meters or 22 feet tall! Its flowers start out pinkish or purplish in hue, but mature to become ivory or white in color. It is a common invasive weed along the west coast of the United States, especially in northern and central California, and is completely banned from sale or propagation in New Zealand. All individual plants are female, and it reproduces by apomixis rather than by seed or division.

Saccharum ravennae “Erianthus’ ‘Hardy Pampas Grass’

Saccharum ravennae “Erianthus’ ‘Hardy Pampas Grass’. source

Commonly referred to as hardy pampas grass, ravenna grass or plume grass, this is not a true pampas grass at all, although it is similar. Saccharum ravennae, formerly known as Erianthus ravennae, forms thick clumps of tall ornamental grass and can grow 9-12 feet in height. Its flowers bloom on central stalks in early summer and are purplish-bronze or white, turning to silver-gray in fall and often lasting into the winter. Its leaves have a single white stripe down the center, and can turn bronze and red in the fall. Often considered to be an invasive tall landscape grass in the Pacific Northwest.

Planting Pampas Grass

In many areas, planting this tall ornamental grass may not be allowed. Hawaii and New Zealand are two areas which have banned pampas grass. It’s on the invasive species list for California and Texas as well as parts of the UK and Australia. Despite these warnings, it can generally be grown under controlled conditions, so check with your local agricultural extension before planting!

When to Plant Pampas Grass

If you’re starting from seed, use cell packs or flats rather than direct sowing. Plant your seed in a well-draining soil in mid-winter indoors. Press the seed into the surface of the soil, but do not cover. This seed type requires light to germinate. Kept at 65-75° Fahrenheit, it takes 14-28 days for germination to occur.

As pampas grass is formed of a mix of female and androgynous plants, and requires both types to create viable seed, seed collected in the wild may or may not germinate. It’s best to purchase your viable seed.

Transplant seedlings in the spring after the last hard frost. USDA zones that are warmer than zone 7 and that don’t get damaging cold may plant earlier if desired.

Where to Plant Pampas Grass

Pampas grass can be planted either in containers or directly in the ground. Either way, be sure to plant well away from areas where pets and small children will be unsupervised, as the grass has quite sharp edges and can easily cut tender skin. Be aware that pampas grass can be extremely flammable, so if you live in an area where wildfires are a concern, plant it away from homes or outbuildings for safety.

If you have a taller variety that you wish to use as a border or windbreak, pick a suitable area with sandy, loamy soil. Plant these taller varieties six feet apart, and no deeper than it was in its container. It will spread to fill in available space.

Dwarf varieties are particularly suited to large containers. This also prevents spreading. As large containers can be moved indoors during cold periods, this is well-suited for people in colder climates. Some dwarf varieties are sterile, so they will not reproduce through seed, making this a non-invasive planting option. Use a well-draining container for best growth.

Caring For Pampas Grass

Pampas grass is surprisingly self-sufficient, and can thrive in a wide variety of conditions. However, there are some ideal conditions for best growth.


This plant type prefers full sun, but will also do well with partial shade. Ideally, select an area where it will receive 6+ hours of light per day.


Pampas grass can grow almost anywhere, but thrives in sandy, loamy soil that drains well. Your plant will benefit from the aid of some compost before planting, but does not require heavy fertilization. Annual (late winter) application of fertilizer is useful, but not always necessary.


For the first year after planting or transplanting, water regularly but not heavily, once to twice a week. Water slightly more in hotter climates. Pampas grass can tolerate saltwater spray, which makes it very suited to coastal growth.


Wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and sturdy leather gardening gloves when pruning pampas as the grass blades are extremely sturdy and are razor sharp. They are also tough to cut through, so long-handled loppers or even a chainsaw may be your best choice for tools.

Pampas requires annual pruning to hack back the old parts of the plant and promote new growth. Late winter is ideal, before it starts to send up new growth.

Begin by poking a stick or other long item repeatedly into the base of the plant, as small animals may have used your plant as a nesting site over the winter, and you don’t want to discover any surprises! Once you’re sure nothing’s in there, cut through the heavy leaves while keeping about 6-8 inches of foliage intact. This promotes fresh growth.

After pruning, broadcast a 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer around the base of the plant. A couple handfuls will do – pampas grass does not require heavy fertilization.

Occasionally, your plant will form extra clumps around the main cluster. Remove these when you do your annual pruning. Also, thin your plant every three years or so by removing about a third of the foliage and roots. This is a tough job on an established plant, and may require the use of a heavy-duty saw or quality axe to get through the root cluster.


Pampas grass is best divided when new growth appears in the early spring. However, it can also be divided in the autumn in warmer zones. To divide plants that are 2-3 years old, carefully dig up your plant and gently remove it. Look at the root cluster and separate segments which have both root and grass stalks attached, and then replant at the same depth it was originally replanted. If your plant is 4-5 years or older, use a shovel to cut a smaller segment from the larger root mass, and transplant the smaller segment into a new location.

Harvesting the Flowers

If you wish to use your pampas grass flowers for floral arrangements, harvest the pannicles as soon as the flowers have fully emerged, but before they mature and begin shedding. They can be used immediately or dried for later use. When using, spray the plumes with hairspray prior to setting them in place. This helps prevent shedding.

Pests And Diseases

Surprisingly, pampas grass has very few problems. It may occasionally be subject to helminthosporium leaf spot, but otherwise is disease-free. Early use of a fungicide to treat this will reduce the spread and prevent further leaf losses in your plant. As for pests, it is more likely to house them than to be bothered by them – small rodents, flea beetles, and different types of mites may make your pampas grass their stronghold, but nothing tries to eat it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is pampas grass annual or perennial?

A: Pampas grass is a perennial in most warmer climates. In zones 7 or colder, it is an annual.

Q: How fast does pampas grass grow?

A: It grows quite rapidly, even the varieties that are considered slow-growing. From a pruned plant that is only 6-8 inches above the ground, it can easily reach heights of six feet or more during the year. It also has a tendency to try to spread out, and can easily reach widths of 4-6 feet across if not regularly pruned or thinned.

Q: How do I prevent pampas grass seed spread?

A: Cut flower heads once they have fully emerged, but before they set seed.

Overall, this tall ornamental grass is quite stunning, and may be the perfect addition to your landscaping efforts. It will certainly turn heads, and you’ll have a neverending supply of the perfect late summer or fall decor for your home or table!

The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:
Kevin Espiritu
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Dwarf Pampas Grass for Sale Online

Growing Dwarf Pampas Grass

Dwarf Pampas grass is Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-11 where it is best grown in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Tolerates drought once established. Cut foliage back to the ground in late winter. Clumps may be divided in late winter to early spring. This grass is technically gynodioecious, but usually appears dioecious. Female plants produce prodigious amounts of seed and can self-seed freely, often resulting in naturalization that displaces valuable native plants. In the colder climates, this grass will generally not survive winter, and should be planted in large containers (e.g., whiskey barrels) for overwintering in a garage etc. Cortaderia selloana, commonly called pampas grass, is native to Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Its common name is in obvious reference to the Argentine grasslands (the pampas) where it grows. It was planted around the world in Victorian times, and today is considered to be one of the most popular of the ornamental grasses. This is a tough, large grass that forms dense, substantial clumps (tussocks) featuring arching, serrulate, narrow green leaves that are topped in fall by huge, feathery, silvery white plumes. It was first introduced into the U. S. in 1848, and for many years now has been grown as an ornamental plant in certain southern and western parts of the U.S. It has also been grown commercially for harvest of its large flower plumes for use in dried arrangements. Leaf blades are extremely sharp (easily cut human skin) and may reach 6-8’ in length. Flower plumes (1-3’ long) may rise to 4 to 5′ tall on erect stems. Silvery white plumes (sometimes with traces of pink) are more impressive on female plants than on male plants. Genus name comes from the Argentinian name.

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