Bamboo Muhly

Muhlenbergia dumosa

bamboo muhly

Bamboo muhly is one of my absolute favorite ornamental grasses. It has a wonderfully soft texture and feathery leaves that sway peacefully in the gentlest of breezes. The stems do resemble actual bamboo, and there is quite an Asian quality to this plant.

Bamboo muhly gets 3-5′ tall and 3-4′ wide, so make sure to give it plenty of space to spread out. It looks great planted in a massed row for architectural interest, or used as a living screen. And in the right container, bamboo muhlycan be a fabulous show-stopper in an entryway or on a patio. This plant has beautiful straw-colored seed heads in the fall and winter and is usually evergreen.

With our intense sun and heat, bamboo muhly will do much better if planted in spots with bright filtered light to light shade. Be sure to water it regularly until established, then cut back on irrigation. As with all plants that have underground stems or crowns, bamboo muhly may rot if kept too wet.

It’s listed as hardy to zone 7 and we’re zone 8, but we can lose them in extreme, lengthy cold. New plants are most susceptible. Mulch well and protect if you can.

BUT, if they brown up, do wait to dig them up! When temperatures warm up, they’ll send out new shoots from roots that stayed warm underground. Prune out the brown foliage just before new growth starts to emerge in the spring.

Bamboo muhly is not invasive but the clumps do get larger, so if it gets too large for your space, you may dig it up and divide it into several pieces, returning a smaller plant to the original space.