MISCANTHUS SINENSIS 'COSMOPOLITAN'

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Go to any good plant retailer and you will usually find a fairly varied selection of ornamental grasses. Some have good garden value while a lot are rather boring, but the reason there is such a large choice out there is because they are largely low maintenance, and tolerant of drought. They are also very much in vogue with garden designers which has made them fashionable. However this is never a good thing and should be ignored when considering your own garden.

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Perhaps the most striking of all the ornamental grasses is Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan'. It is a hardy, strong-growing herbaceous perennial grass noted for its bold green and outstanding pure-white/creamy variegation.

The leaves are 18–75 cm long and 0.3–2 cm wide with pale green midribs. Miscanthus sinensis 'Cosmopolitan' also has compact, feathery purplish flower heads that emerge in late autumn.

It has a clump-forming, arching habit and can reach a height of up to 3 metres although there are some report of it growing to 4 metres under favourable conditions. Despite its height Miscanthus sinensis 'Cosmopolitan' will not require any staking.

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You can grow Miscanthus sinensis 'Cosmopolitan' in any moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun. It may require additional watering in sandy or free draining soils, especially while the root systems establishes in its first growing season. The variegation will show at its best in full sun, but avoid shade as this can cause the plant to flop.

Avoid over feeding with excessive fertilizer or organic mulches as the plant can again become floppy in late summer.  The foliage does tend to turn yellowish after a hard frost, but this will quickly turn to straw-beige as it dies back for winter.

Allow the foliage to remain as long as the grass retains ornamental value but as soon as it becomes attractive cut it back to near ground level. Cutting back must be done by May as a matter of good practice so that the new growth can emerge in all its glory.

Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan' received its Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2001.

For related articles click onto the following links:
FESTUCA GLAUCA - The Blue Fescue
JAPANESE BLOOD GRASS - Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron'
WHAT IS ELEPHANT GRASS?

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