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Tips for growing and caring for the zebra grass

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Zebra Grass

The zebra grass is an ornamental beauty that is native to Japan, this grass has a unique appearance because if you are not familiar with this plant you may think that it has a disease when in reality this is how this plant grows. The striped foliage (Leaves) is a show stopper and will get the attention of just about anyone.

This garden perennial does not take to the colder months and will die back during this time but not to worry because during the growing season it will re-sprout. The zebra plant is also known as Japan silver grass. Besides the stripes what makes this plant so unique is the slender long leaves. Zones 5-9 is ideal for this plant.

The zebra grass will give your garden and landscapes that much need flavor so if you are looking for a plant that is showy and easy to maintain then the zebra grass may just be the plant for you. Below we will be discussing how to grow and care for the zebra grass.

Planting Location

When installing these babies install in a location that gets plenty of sunlight. The zebra grass can get up to about 7 ft tall with a spread of 6-8 ft wide so you may want to keep this in mind.

Soil Type

This perennial plant can grow in a range of soil type from clay, sand or garden loam. It is best to use a soil which has good drainage to allow excess water to drain through. A soil that is slightly alkaline to acidic will work wonders.

Watering Methods

Water your zebra grass twice a week when first installed. Once these plants are established they become drought tolerant. Water plants only if they show signs of stress.

Fertilizing Methods

During the growing season ( spring ) fertilize your zebra plants with a liquid feed of triple 10 especially if your zebra grass is turning a pale yellow.  Before applying fertilizers read and follow the manufacturer’s label because the label is the law.

Garden insect pests of the zebra plant

As far as garden insect pest is concerned the zebra plant does not have any issues.

Disease of the zebra grass

Zerba grass does not have any major disease issues except to keep an eye out for rust, this rust is encouraged by fungi. If you notice a rust color on the stems and the underside of the plant leaves which eventually turn into bumps then your zebra grass has contracted rust.

Treating rust on your Zebra grass

There is an old saying that “prevention is better than cure” so help your zebra grass stay clear of this disease by proving good air circulation which means the proper spacing of plants is so important. Moisture is another reason that influences rust, this one may be a little difficult to control especially during heavy rain downpours but what you can do is to manage the amount of water you are giving your zebra grass.

Remember these grasses are drought tolerant at maturity. When it comes to wet conditions such as the rainy weather this may be harder to control that’s why it is so important to install your grass in a well-drained so to help with drainage during heavy rain downpours. Remove the infected leaves and properly disposed of. The use of a fungicide will bounce your zebra grass back to good health.

Ideas on where to install the zebra grass

Here are a few ideas on where to install the zebra grass

  • Zebra grass can be installed and used as a backdrop in a garden bed
  • Plant a group of them together
  • looks great installed alongside a pond
  • Can be installed alongside a wall
  • Plant some alongside a fenced area

Pruning the Zebra grass

Pruning is so important to keep your zebra grass growing nice and healthy. As the colder months arrive it is best to remove about 5 inches of the top growth from your zebra grass. This annual pruning also prepares your grass to produce new growth come spring. It is recommended to cut the grass down during mid-summer to rejuvenate it.

Growing zebra grass in containers

Container grown zebra grass, I know, it is bold and daring but why not go for it, let’s be bold and daring and go for it. It is good to live life on the edge sometime. What do you think? If your answer is yes then lets live on the edge together. When growing these ornament grasses from a container choose a container which can accommodate your plant or cause your grass to sit comfortably.

The soil should be a soil that has good drainage adding compost will help to condition the soil. The containers should also have drain holes to allow water to drain, place the container in the full sunlight. Fertilize and as stated above, treat rust disease and prune as directed. The great thing about container grown plants is that the container can be moved to a more secure location during adverse condition.

Additional Information

1. The zebra grass puts forth small white plumes.

2. You may need garden stakes to support these grasses if they are in the shade because the shade will cause the leaves to flop, a stake can help to prop the leaves upright.

3. These grasses are invasive.

4. Bloom late summer.

5. Zebra grasses can be grown from seeds or you can divide a fully grown plant every couple of years before or after the grass blooms. Remove dead and diseased roots then go ahead once this is done and replant the grass pieces.

6. Give them the proper spacing for good air circulation.

The final word

The zebra grass is a unique plant which can work wonders, these plants can really bring that much need flavor to your garden and landscape. This low maintenance grass is simple to grow and care for so if you are interested in the zebra grass you have made the right choice as your garden is taken to the next level I think these plants are so beautiful, go ahead and install some and reap the benefits of what they have to offer.