Miscanthus oligostachyus

Common Name: miscanthus 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to February
Bloom Description: Pinkish silver
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Good Fall
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Clay Soil


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils from well-drained sandy soils to the heavy clays present in much of the St. Louis area. Prefers moist soils. Best in full sun. Less vigorous with decreased flowering and tendency to flop in too much shade. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. Clumps slowly expand in circumference by short rhizomes, but retain tight clump shape. Foliage should be left standing throughout the winter for visual interest and to provide protection for the crowns. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter just before new shoots appear.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Miscanthus oligostachyus, sometimes commonly called small Japanese silver grass, is native to Japan (Islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kysuhu). It is a compact miscanthus that typically forms an open, upright-arching clump to only 2' tall and as wide of flattened green leaf blades (each to 1/2" wide). It is similar in appearance to Miscanthus sinensis, but much smaller. In August, tiny pinkish-silver flowers bloom in sparsely branched tassel-like inflorescences that rise above the foliage clump to 3-4' tall. Inflorescences turn silvery white by fall as the seeds mature. Leaf blades acquire bronze-red tones in fall before turning beige in winter. This species is noted for having excellent cold hardiness and for tolerating part shade conditions.

Genus name comes from the Greek words miskos meaning a stem and anthos meaning flower in reference to the stalked spikelets.


No frequently occurring insect or disease problems. In some areas of the U.S., Miscanthus mealybug and Miscanthus blight are becoming significant problems. Miscanthus mealybug causes stunted growth and is difficult to eradicate because it lives inside the stems. Miscanthus blight is a fungal disease which attacks the blades and sheaths.


Versatile ornamental grass for compact areas such as foundations. Accent, specimen, grouping or mass. Effective in borders, meadows, wild gardens, cottage gardens, naturalized areas or pond/water garden peripheries.