Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

Q: What can you tell me about the muhly bamboo grass?

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Bamboo Muhly

Bamboo Muhly

A:  I am hoping to have some Bamboo muhly, Muhlenbergia dumosa, at the Master Gardener plant sale on May 13.  Bamboo muhly blends the look of bamboo with the easy versatility of an ornamental grass. With its billowy, light green foliage, bamboo muhly can anchor a perennial bed, serve as a screen, or give height to a container planting.  The upright or arching stems can reach four to six feet tall, and the plant can reach up to five feet wide as the clump slowly spreads. Be sure to allow for the necessary spacing. Bamboo muhly is native to Arizona and northwestern Mexico and is somewhat drought tolerant, once the plant is established. This means it should not be planted under the eaves of houses if the eaves have no gutters. Bamboo muhly is usually evergreen, though the foliage will likely die back if the plant is exposed to freezing temperatures. If this happens, prune back the brown foliage just before growth starts in the spring. Older canes of bamboo muhly can also be removed periodically to give the plant a fresh look and to encourage new growth. It was one of the 2010 Florida Plants of the Year.

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