Miscanthus sacchariflorus
Common Name: Amur silvergrass 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Japan, Korea, Russia
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.50 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Silvery-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Erosion, Wet Soil, Black Walnut, Air Pollution

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 4-9 where it is easily grown in moist to wet soils in full sun to light shade. Best in full sun. Less vigorous with decreased flowering and inclination to flop when sited in too much shade. Tolerates areas subject to temporary flooding. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. Foliage with persisting inflorescences should be left standing throughout the winter for visual interest and for protection of the crowns. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter just before new shoots appear. Self-seeds in the landscape. Propagate by division of the crown.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Miscanthus sacchariflorus, commonly known as silver banner grass or Amur silver grass, is a deciduous, rhizomatous, clump-forming, warm season, perennial grass that typically grows to 5-8’ tall and to 4 1/2’ wide. It is native to wet lowlands in Japan, Manchuria, Korea and northern China. It has been introduced into North America and has naturalized from Quebec and Ontario south to Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and New York. It is primarily distinguished by its preference for moist to wet soils, stout rhizomes, a somewhat invasive spreading habit, and spikelets which lack awns. It will invade sunny to semi-shaded environments such as roadside ditches, woodland borders and clearings. Rhizomatous spread is more pronounced in wet areas, but less pronounced in areas with dry and/or heavy soils. Flat, linear, rigid, blue-green leaves (each to 36” long and 1” wide) have pale silver-green midribs. Leaves turn yellow in autumn. In late summer to early autumn, this grass produces hairy, pyramidal to fan-shaped panicles (each to 16” long) of silky, silvery-white spikelets. The plume-like flowers which resemble corn tassles are held well above the foliage, opening silver and becoming fluffy white upon drying. Inflorescences are narrower and more upright than those of Miscanthus sinensis. Inflorescences remain attractive through much of the winter.

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

Specific epithet means relating to sugar in reference to the relationship between the within grass with plants in the genus Saccharum (sugar cane), both being plants in the grass family.

Problems

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.

Uses

Attractive ornamental grass which grows best in riparian environments. Pond or stream margins. Naturalize in water garden peripheries or wet meadows. Helps stabilize wet disturbed sites. Spreading habit is useful for colonizing large areas such as parking lots or water gardens. Avoid planting this grass in borders where invasive spread is likely to constitute a substantial risk to other plants.