Muhlenbergia

Muhly

Named in honor of G. H. E. Muhlenberg, a botanist who specialized in grasses, this large, varied genus includes some of the most visually stunning and enduring ornamental grasses for today’s landscape.

Primarily native to arid range areas of the southern U.S. and Mexico, many Muhlenbergias boast not only arresting inflorescences and foliage, but an exceptional tolerance to heat, sun and drought, providing the soil is well drained, as well as abiding short amounts of dappled shade each day.

<i>Muhlenbergia capillaris</i>

Holding their attraction for months, ethereal masses of airy flower panicles are imbued in vivid pinkish red tones, which age to a light buff. This soft-looking mist hovers atop a fine textured, semievergreen clump of glossy dark green foliage. With an unmatched vivacity, particularly when planted in drifts, the Pink Muhly will easily bridge the gap from a garden space into the native habitat.

Blooms September–early December.

Size: 3' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 6.

Slender, smooth glossy green blades, which appear nearly identical to the species, cushion a spectacular long-lasting delicacy of finely branched vibrant pink panicles. Countless minute seed heads lend a dreamy soft-looking aspect, drawing both plant aficionados as well as birds and floral arrangers. Assuming a dogged, drought-tolerant evergreen habit, ‘Pink Cloud’ is ideal for planting in sweeps, singularly or in containers.

Blooms September–early December

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 6.

<i>Muhlenbergia capillaris</i> ‘White Cloud’

In an illuminated departure from the native species, the finely branched nearly transparent panicles spawn a white wispy haze along the upper reaches of sleek, dark green blades. With cloudlike inflorescences that brighten the landscape well after the first frosts, this tidy clumping Muhly is both stunning and stalwart and can be utilized as a specimen.

Blooms September – early December.

Size: 3' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 6.

<i>Muhlenbergia dubia</i>

This small-scale architectural gem celebrates a finely cut impeccably shaped green mound. Half the size of its taller relative, Muhlenbergia rigens, Pine Muhly's dense mostly evergreen clump of upright narrow cylindrical blades bolsters slim purple-tinged plumes, which blanch to almond shades on rigid, 2 to 3 ft. tall skinny stems. Roaming the higher altitudes of the Chihuahuan desert in west Texas, New Mexico and northern Mexico, Muhlenbergia dubia is undaunted by heat and drought, enjoys sharply drained sites and brings untold elegance to a patio vessel, mass planting or a tight spot.

Blooms August – October.

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 7.

<i>Muhlenbergia dumosa</i>

Noted for its extraordinary fine texture and striking resemblance to bamboo, this warm season grass conveys a lighthearted grace. Delicately branched, upright and arching supple stems and thin light green leaves define the billowy mass that forms a noninvasive clump, preferring occasional water while enduring deer, heat and drought.

Stirring in just about any breeze, the evergreen Bamboo Muhly hails from Arizona and southern Mexico, produces insignificant pale pink flowers and is destined to become an airy counterpoint to Yucca ‘Garland’s Gold’s bold blades or where winter’s are cold, an ethereal container subject.

Blooms May.

Size: 3' 0" – 6' 0" high x 3' 0" – 4' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 7.

<i>Muhlenbergia lindheimeri</i>

Long, open Calamagrostis-like panicles are colored in muted purplish gray tones, aging to an antique silver that festoons the winter landscape. The fine textured, rounded clump of semi-evergreen, blue-gray foliage sends forth slender, perfect-for-cutting inflorescences on upright stems some 2 ft. above.

Whether headlined as a sophisticated specimen or massed, this stunning Muhlenbergia delivers tranquil hues and a tidy enduring visage.

Blooms September–December.

Size: 5' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 7.

Though the species is indigenous to the limestone outcroppings of northern Texas and southwestern Oklahoma, this exceptional seed strain was collected near Fort Worth, Texas by Lauren Springer and Scott Ogden, and subsequently introduced by Colorado’s Plant Select program. A small growing warm season grass, Muhlenbergia reverchonii’s fine hewn green blades craft a long-lived dense tussock beneath the spectacular late season aura of gauzy reddish mauve inflorescences that appear earlier and are less pink than Muhlenbergia capillaris. The namesake pretty much sums it up–a compact tailored habit performing heroically in cold, drought, heavy clay, sweltering heat and southern humidity. Easy care, warm tawny brown winter interest and an exceptional en masse presence make it indispensable.

Blooms August–October

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Muhlenbergia rigens</i>

A long-time resident of California and other southwestern states, this semievergreen Muhlenbergia yields upright, thin and arrowlike silvery inflorescences reaching beyond the narrow, 18 in. high gray-green foliage. Creating a shimmery veiling effect in the landscape and adding pizzazz to dried arrangements, the reflective flowering stalks bend gracefully as they age.

Let Deer Grass weave its way around the contrasting horizontal form of Arctostaphylos ‘Vancouver Jade’, or superimpose it against Lobelia tupa.

Blooms September–December.

Size: 5' 0" high x 4' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 7.

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