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December 21st, 2022

Blooming Grass

by R.S. Walsh

Fun, whimsical, and versatile only begin to describe a Floridian plant known as mushily grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), with its long green stalks and fluffy blooms making their showcase amongst your landscape. This particular type of grass prospers easily throughout the year, blooming its beautiful stalks of feathery flowers, ranging from classic tones of pink and purple, to elegant fluffs of white, in the fall.

As an easily adaptable plant requiring little maintenance, mushily grass is a great choice if you lack a green thumb. Providing water to newly planted stalks until they are well established sets the road for later on, as they have a high drought tolerance once mature. Sunny spots are best for these wild sprouts, which flourish rapidly in the spring to reveal their slender, dark green foliage. Trimming them in the winter helps maintain a manageable size for the rest of the year. Because mushily grass can grow to great sizes of 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with flower stalks reaching a whopping 5 feet in length, planting this type of vegetation about 24 to 36 inches apart gives them plenty of room to grow.

If you’re looking to make muhly grass the next addition to your landscaping, it’s the perfect choice for coastal atmospheres, considering this beauty is a native. Whether you prefer a flowing border of these fountaining flowers, or instead, opt for a large group of them, either choice will leave you with an equally beautiful appearance. And if you decide you want more, you can easily divide mature clumps of this grass in the spring to create several new plants.

So, keep your eyes peeled for this wonderfully delicate, yet highly tolerant plant, the mushily grass, as it’s a reliable, easily maintainable shrub to add a pop of flare to your garden.

This column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, Sanibel’s local garden center, located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel.

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