Stipa gigantea (Golden Oats, Giant Oat Grass)
Certainly one of the most dramatic grasses, green tussocks of narrow foliage erupt with tall arching stems of golden oat like flowers in June and July that sit well above the leaves, moving and swaying in the slightest breeze and catching the sun for weeks on end. This is one of a handful of true seasonal ‘bookmark’ plants, when you see the flower stems starting to elongate and open – its time the BBQ and a jug of Pimms because Summer has officially started. (For best results – position your flowering Stipa gigantea in between your favourite outdoor seat and the sunset!)
A great source of movement and height, this RHS award winning plant has many uses as a focal point or for softening the lines of hard landscaping features and buildings. Full sun and well drained soil is recommended, once established this majestic grass will bring many years of gardening pleasure.
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Stipa gigantea is a semi evergreen grass, the old foliage should be left over the Winter as this will protect the crown of the plant from inclement weather conditions and will still provide structure and interest, especially on frosty days. Give the plants a tidy up in February or March before the new foliage emerges removing old and dead leaves taking care as the basal leaves may be sharp (and so gloves are advisable).
How to grow Stipa gigantea
Position: Sun or partial shade.
Foliage: Semi – evergreen grass, foliage dies down in colder winters, persists in milder winters.
Soil and site: Any well drained soil.
Flowering time: Summer
Growth rate: Moderate
Ultimate height and spread: up to 200cm x 120cm
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Aftercare: Water regularly after planting and through the first season until established.