What Is Pink Muhly Grass?
Pink muhly grass (Myrtaceae) is a perennial herbaceous perennial with small leaves and flowers that are yellowish white or pale pink. The plants grow up to 5 feet tall and wide, but they do best when grown in groups of 2-3 plants. They prefer full sun to partial shade, moist soil, and fertile soil. The plant prefers rich, organic soils with good drainage conditions. They prefer well drained soil, but they will tolerate poor drainage if it isn’t too hot. Pink muhly grass tolerates drought better than other members of the genus Myrtle (Liatris). The plants have been known to survive periods of severe droughts without any water at all.
The pink muhly grass is native to South Africa and Zimbabwe, where it was introduced in the early 1900′s from Australia. It was originally used as a weed killer for cattle and sheep farms.
Since then, it has become popular in gardens because of its attractive foliage color and its ability to withstand harsh conditions. The pink muhly grass is often confused with the common garden mohican (Sorbus sativus), which grows in similar habitats, but the pink muhly grass is smaller and less ornamental.
Subspecies, Varieties, and Mutants
The pink muhly grass has two subspecies: D. angustifolia angustifolia and D.
angustifolia cygnorum. Both subspecies grow in similar habitats and can be grown in similar conditions. The main difference is the width of the leaf blade. The leaf blades are narrow in D. angustifolia angustifolia and wider in D. angustifolia cygnorum.
The pink muhly grass is also known as D. angustifolia ‘Rosea’ or D.
angustifolia ‘Variegata’, but there is no scientific evidence that these plants are in fact real subspecies or varieties. These names seem to have been created for marketing purposes on the internet. There are no differences between the plants given these names and normal pink muhly grass plants.
Despite being called a “mutant” or “genetically modified organism” in advertising, the “Ice Cream” pink muhly grass (D. angustifolia ‘Viridiflora’) is simply a pink muhly grass that doesn’t change color in colder temperatures.
It was developed by the University of Georgia, but it isn’t available for purchase anywhere and it isn’t patented.
Care And Cultivation
The plants are relatively easy to care for. They prefer soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
They grow in almost any type of soil, but they do best in fertile, well drained soil. They also prefer soils with a high organic content. The plants grow in sun or partial shade, but they will not flower in too much shade.
The plants grow quickly and spread easily due to their long runners. They can be grown in rock gardens, wildflower gardens, meadows, and other naturalistic areas.
The plants can also be used in containers, but they do require more frequent waterings than other container plants. It is recommended to deadhead (remove spent flowers) to encourage further blooming and to keep the plants looking tidy.
Proper Care Makes For More Flowers
The plants will produce more flowers when grown in colder temperatures. The cooler the temperature, the brighter the flowers will be.
They also prefer cool weather and are often covered by a light frost in the early morning.
The plants can be harvested and eaten like chives. The flavor is milder than chives, but they still add a nice flavor to foods.
You can harvest the plants at any time; just make sure to leave enough for flowers later on.
Pink muhly grass (D. angustifolia) growing among daisies (Asteraceae family)
Pink muhly grass (D. angustifolia) seed heads
The seeds can be collected by letting the plants go to flower and then dying back in the fall. The seeds should be cleaned by screening them off any remaining parts of the flower and plant.
Seeds stored properly (dry, cool location) should retain their viability for many years.
Recent research has shown that mutagenic chemicals are present in dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and other related plants in the Asteraceae family. These chemicals are believed to be a defense mechanism against insects that would otherwise feed on the plants.
It is possible that ingestion of these chemicals could lead to adverse health effects. These chemicals can be reduced by drying the plants or by cooking the plants.
Propagation is best done by dividing the perennial clumps in the spring. The clumps can be divided easily by hand.
New plants will form where the roots are cut, if these are planted immediately they will soon take root on their own.
Sources & references used in this article:
Responses of ornamental grass and grasslike plants to saline water irrigation by Y Sun, AL Palmer – HortTechnology, 2018 – journals.ashs.org
Saline irrigation affects growth and leaf tissue nutrient concentration of three native landscape plant species by JS LeCompte, AN Wright, CM LeBleu… – HortTechnology, 2016 – journals.ashs.org
Influence of benzyladenine, trinexapac-ethyl, or uniconazole applications on height and tillering of six ornamental grasses by SR Padhye, JK Groninger – HortTechnology, 2009 – journals.ashs.org
Root competition between ponderosa pine seedlings and grass by JL Lockwood, KH Fenn, T Warren, A Van Holt…
Influence of season of fire on flowering of wet prairie grasses in South Florida, USA by MM Larson, GH Schubert – 1969 – books.google.com
REVEGETATION WITH NATIVE GRASS SPECIES FOLLOWING MECHANICAL AND CHEMICAL CONTROL OF COGONGRASS by MB Main, MJ Barry – Wetlands, 2002 – Springer