The species of this widely distributed genus of cool season grasses are evergreen in milder climates. The jointed, bamboo-like flower stalks lend an Asian look to many of the showy varieties. The flowers are stunning in morning and end of the day light, and in the breezes of any hour.
Like a fountain, the green, bronze and golden narrow blades are upright and arching. Slightly dry soils will intensify the copper tones of this graceful, clumping evergreen Stipa. While grown mostly for its delightful form and color, the subtle inflorescences appear as a fine mist, tinged with small purple and golden seed capsules known as awns.
Size: 2' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 8.
The first time we saw this show-stopper, we had to ask, “Is it from the tropics, or straight out of America’s bread basket?” In fact a native of Spain, Stipa gigantea boasts 7 ft. tall, jointed stalks that resemble lean bamboo, with airy 10 in. panicles of oatlike flowers that begin as purple-on-green, ripening to pale, metallic gold. The graceful gray-green foliage remains a tidy 2 ft. hummock. This unforgettable display continues all winter, and may bloom as early as February in milder climates. We recommend a gentle breeze and backlighting for full effect. Drought tolerant once established.
Size: 6' 0" – 7' 0" high x 4' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 7.
Hailing from Down Under, Australia’s ‘Pillar of Smoke’ explodes with 6 to 8 in. whorl-branched panicles of silky copper-colored flowers that age to a smoky silver. The amazing floral plumes are held on sturdy, jointed stems amidst towering clumps of bright green foliage.
Undaunted by wind, poor soils and some drought, this strong-growing, cool season evergreen is perfect for southern and western gardens, as well as coastal sites.
Size: 6' 0" – 7' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 9.