Cortaderia selloana

Pampas grass


Pampas grass seemed almost ubiquitous not so long ago – unfairly dismissed as large unkempt things with browning leaves and scruffy giant plumes, often broken by the wind and squeezed inappropriately into small suburban front gardens.


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Origin: Brazil, Argentina, Chile
Genus: Cortaderia
Species / Cultivar: selloana
Common Name: Pampas grass
Synonym: Arundo selloana

Plant Biography

Cortaderia selloana originates in the Southern parts of South America, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. The common name, Pampas grass is indicative of the area where it originates: the lowlands of Pampas region.

Once established, the Cortaderia clumps require very little care and it’s very tolerant of drought, as well as salty and dry winds. Pampas grass’ tall plumes are used in dried flowers arrangements. An ideal plant for coastal gardens.

It’s considered an invasive species in some US states and New Zealand due to the easiness with which it spreads. Several cultivars are available as ornamental grass.

Cortaderia selloana
Soil: Well drained
Soil that does not show much signs of moisture, either visibly or when handled.
Growth Rate: Fast
Expect to see prolific growth, especially during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Humidity: Medium
Easygoing in regular home conditions, keep away from cold draughts and heat sources.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun
Wants direct, unfiltered sunlight most of the day, such as a south facing position.
Eventual Height: 2.0 - 3.0m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1.5 - 2.5m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Planting the Cortaderia selloana needs to be carefully considered as it requires enough space to grow. It’s a very versatile plant, that can be used as a privacy screen or a specimen plant.

Plant in early spring, in full sun and moist soil to allow the plant to establish. Once established it will become tolerant to dry conditions.

The dry leaves and plumes provide a dramatic backdrop in winter. In spring, once the risk of frost has passed, a hard cutback will encourage new growth to push through.

Feeding is not required, however a high nitrogen fertiliser is more than welcomed a few times a year, in spring.

Expert Tip

Pampas grass can be planted in containers too. Make sure you choose a large enough pot and use well draining compost when planting.

Feeding the grasses

Grasses, in general, have really low requirements for fertilisers. They can thrive in any soil, as long as it’s well drained.

For a thriving garden, a high nitrogen, slow release fertiliser is encouraged. Feed with slow release bamboo fertiliser twice a year to encourage strong healthy plants.


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