The decorative clouds of showy flowers are an autumn bonus
Giants of the grass world, second only to bamboos in many gardens, miscanthus are bold and useful plants that are at their best in autumn when most erupt into clouds of showy flowers. They are mostly native to China and Japan and are deciduous, turning colourful bronze and yellow shades in autumn after they bloom. Many of the decorative forms are derived from Miscanthus sinensis, although the towering M. sacchariflorus is sometimes grown for screening.
The smaller kinds fit neatly into borders and their fountain-like growth contrasts well with taller herbaceous plants such as phlox, asters, anemones and rudbeckias, which flower in autumn. The taller kinds are best grown among shrubs such as hydrangeas, caryopteris, buddleias and hibiscus.
Keep them happy
Miscanthus thrive in most soils as long as they are not wet in winter, but all grow best in an open, sunny place. It’s best to cut them down in early spring before the stems get too battered by winds and before new growth emerges from the base. Once established, they do not need staking or other hard work but they may need dividing after about ve years. Do this in spring, just as growth starts. The smaller kinds can also be successfully grown as statement plants in pots.