|Rugged natives of the steppes and prairies around the world, their rough leaf blades form low, sparse clumps. Gardeners prize the airy, shimmering clouds of needlelike flowerheads on tall stems. First green, then golden, the stalks can be dried and dyed for arrangements. They may last into winter, but need trimming as they become faded and unkempt. Stipa pulchra (Purple Needlegrass) once covered much of California's Central Valley and foothills. With wild growths now rare, they are a popular choice for native-plant grardens. If deer raid your garden, they will generally steer clear of bright-green Stipa tenuissima (Texas Needle Grass). Grows easily in full sun and moderately fertile soil. Most are very drought-tolerant and hardy to 5º F. Grow from seed or by division. The sharp seed fibers can lodge in dogs' ears or eyes. Species that dry out in summer can be flammable. Plant with caution where brush fires are a hazard.
Try this ornamental on a slope that catches early and late sunlight, or in an island bed on a lawn. Gophers can do a lot of damage quickly -- sunken wire cages offer some protection.
Attributes - Stipa gigantea
Plant Type: Grass
Height: 1 ft. 6 in. to 2 ft.
Width: 2 ft.
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Sun
Climate: Zones 7, 8, 9
Notes: Thrives in Dry Climates. Container Plants, Drought Tolerant, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers. Susceptible to Root Rot.