When pink muhly grass starts blooming in late summer, it looks like an airy pink cloud arising from the garden. This ornamental native grass grows as a slowly expanding clump—no need to worry about invasive runners taking over your yard! The bluish green foliage of pink muhly grass is very narrow and upright. It blooms for nearly two months, from late summer into autumn, producing many large, airy, purple-pink flowering panicles. Pink muhly grass is a great addition to perennial beds and mixed plantings, and it can also be planted in masses as a tall ground cover.
Common name: Pink muhly grass
Botanical name: Muhlenbergia capillaris
Plant type: Perennial grass
Zones: 6 to 10
Height: 2 to 3 feet
• Sun: Full sun or partial shade
• Soil: Adaptable to a wide range of soil types and pH levels
• Moisture: Dry to moist; fairly drought tolerant once established
• Mulch: None
• Pruning: Cut back in late winter or early spring.
• Fertilizer: Apply compost or a balanced fertilizer in spring if needed.
Pests and diseases
• Rabbits may eat leaves.
• ‘White Cloud’ has white flower heads instead of pink; it may be from a closely related species.
• Regal Mist (‘Lenca’) was selected for its especially good pink color.
• Backlighting really makes pink muhly grass glow, so plant it where it will catch morning or evening sunlight.
• Contrast the fine texture of this grass with large-leafed perennials like hostas or plume poppy.
• While pink muhly grass is native in some Zone 5 regions, most plants in the nursery trade seem to be from southern sources and tend to be hardy only to Zone 6 or 7.
All in the family
• Pink muhly grass is a member of the grass family (Poaceae), a large family that includes important crops like corn and wheat as well as ornamental and turf grasses.
• Several other Muhlenbergia species are grown as ornamentals, including Lindheimer’s muhly grass (M. lindheimeri).
Where to buy
• High Country Gardens, 800-925-9387; www.highcountrygardens.com
• Niche Gardens, 919-967-0078; www.nichegardens.com
• Plant Delights Nursery; 919-772-4794; www.plantdelights.com