Feather grass, Stipa tenuissima - care and cutting

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Feather grass, Stipa tenuissima - care and cutting: feather

As soon as one observes the feather grass, one becomes aware of why it is also called angel hair. The Latin name for the feather grass is Stipa tenuissima. The blades of grass look like individual angel hairs. Fine and silky shiny, the stalks rise to the sky and bring a special flair. Whether in the garden or on a natural meadow, the angel hair offers a variety of colors. Even in winter, the Stipa tenuissima can bring color into the dreary days with a bright green.
The angel hair is a grass, which is also hardy. In addition, feather grass belongs to the family of grasses that grow perennially. The growth behavior is loose and upright to slightly curved. The stature height is very different. There are blades of grass reaching a height of 2 meters. The angel hair is not only a favorite plant among hobby gardeners. The Stipa tenuissima plant is also used in the floristic field for dried flower bouquets. The place of origin is Mexico, from where it was scattered all over the world. The main growth area is today in China.

Sowing and propagation

The seeds of the Stipa tenuissima plant can be bought in any nursery. Another possibility is to remove the seeds from the panicles and use them for sowing. If you already have the Stipa tenuissima in the garden, it also sows itself. The immense tension of the panicles ensures that the seeds are thrown a few meters away from the mother plant. Sowing is very easy. Between February and June, you should sprinkle the seeds directly on the ground. You can also grow the angel hair in seed trays and later put it in the ground. On the seed comes a thin layer of soil and is also lightly pressed. The sowing should be kept well moist. Nevertheless, avoid waterlogging. Germination of the seeds takes place at a temperature of 10 to 20° C. The duration can be variable and can last up to 8 weeks. The spiral awns also like to get caught in animal hair or stick to human clothing, so that is provided for an automatic propagation.

Plants & repotting

As soon as the Stipa tenuissima has reached a height of 5 cm, it is advisable to assemble some young plants to form a bunch of the Stipa tenuissima plant.
The seedlings are planted with a height of 5 cm from the seed bowl in the field. Moreover, repotting is no longer necessary. If you want to keep the Stipa tenuissima in a pot, you should repot the grass annually, as it has a pronounced rooting. Always use a larger pot than the previous one.


For the angel hair to grow well, you should choose a well drained soil. For this you can fill the ground with gravel. As soon as the winter wetness occurs, it can damage the Stipa tenuissima plant to such an extent that it enters. Waterlogging is essential to avoid. In addition, fertilizing the Stipa tenuissimaes plant is unnecessary. However, if you notice that the feather grass is in a growth stop, you can provide with a natural fertilizer such as coffee grounds or stinging nettle for some nutrient. As a rule, the rain is sufficient so that the plant does not have to be watered. The Stipa tenuissima also survives a light dry period.


The soil should be well drained. Waterlogging is essential to avoid. In addition, the soil should not be too nutrient-containing. If the feather grass gets a warm and bright place - maybe a bit sunny - the plant will grow well. Heath gardens are also a good place where the angel hair feels very well. The Stipa tenuissima plant is also outstanding in rockeries.

Pouring & fertilizing

The casting is not essential. However, if the soil is dry for several weeks, you should occasionally give some water.
The easy-care Stipa tenuissima spends its time with little food and water. That makes fertilizing obsolete. Only when you discover that the Stipa tenuissima has a growth stop, you can give some coffee grounds or nettles as food.

Cutting & wintering

As easy as the angel hair is, the more it does not mind when cut in autumn. Therefore, avoid cutting the Stipa tenuissima plant in the fall and avoid spring. In March or April, you can then cut the angel hair until just above the ground, so that there is room for new shoots.

Giant Feather Grass - Stipa gigantea

For wintering, it is advisable to tie together the stipa tenuissima tufts and protect them with foliage against the frost. Cover the stipa tenuissima tufts well for this. Be sure not to cut the angel hair back in the fall. In the spring is an optimal time to cut off the grass near the ground.

Diseases and pests

The Stipa tenuissima plant is almost immune to pests due to its nature.As a rule, the plants are not attacked by any pest. Also diseases are a foreign word for the Stipa tenuissima plants. The only thing that can harm the angel hair is the waterlogging.
The feather grass or 'Stipa' is a magical ornamental grass, which in many variants such as:
  • the fleece feather grass or feather-pruning grass or girl hair grass
  • and the silver eargrass
  • and the Reiherfedergras is available.
All varieties are horstige, perennial sweet grasses. These are already cultivated as ornamental grasses within the gardens since the beginning of the 20th century.

The feather grass is a very easy-care plant

It necessarily requires for a healthy growth:
  • a very dry planting place; is otherwise a very easy-care crop
  • The filigree feather grass inspires again and again through its fluffy high tufts, which can reach 30 to 80 centimeters (some varieties even 200 centimeters) height
  • it forms clumps, from which sprout the inflorescences during the summer
  • The flowering period extends from July to August and during this time the feather grass can be combined in the outdoor area with wild brush and shrub flax
  • especially dryness and a lot of sunlight is very important for the feather grass, whereby only after long extreme heat spells watering should take place
  • Fertilizer does not even need feather grass, as it always grows on very meager soil in its natural environment.

The optimal care of feather grass

In order to multiply the feather grass, the sowing is divided and the seeds are sown during cold autumn days. In spring, the feather grass plant can be divided for propagation. If it is to be protected during the winter weeks, spruce or fir twigs can be used. When spring starts, the feather grass is ideally cut by hand (about 10 centimeters above the ground) to allow it to show itself in full glory again. An ideal time for this cut are the months of February and March. Feather grass is also ideal as a cut plant and is thus predestined for dry bouquets / dry arrangements and floor vase.
The perfect location for feather grass is extremely dry soil:
  • This can be a bit stony and calcareous itself, it must have only an excellent permeability, so that rainwater can flow off quickly and no waterlogging is caused
  • Furthermore, roofed areas such as a roof ledge with a gravel garden are particularly suitable for planting feather grass small groups
  • In addition, feather grass requires sufficient space to grow, as it does not like the oppression of other plants
  • the planting distance between each other should be about 20 to 30 centimeters, which means about 10 feather grass plants per square meter
  • in order to achieve an excellent appearance, the 'Stipa' (feather grass) should be planted in front of a hedge / shrub or a shrub with a dark color.
A proven protection for the feather grass during the winter weeks
Some variants of the 'Stipa' need no special protection in winter, as they are hardy. Most varieties, however, do not survive for their long stalks and roots without winter protection. It can help, for example:
  • to cover the bottom of the feather grass by means of a high layer of foliage or spruce and fir branches
  • Because the long stalks are sensitive to moisture, they are loosely tied together
  • a cut may not take place in the fall, since otherwise very easily water / moisture penetrates into the open stalks and the plant freezes.

Video Board: How to Cut Back Mexican Feather Grass in Spring.

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