Pink muhly grass blooms in late summer and autumn. Beautiful, easy-to-grow perennial grass.
Named after a botanist, pink muhly grass ( Muhlenbergia capillaris for late-season color. This North American native is known as gulf muhly, cotton candy grass, pink grass, pink muhly, and muhly grass. Its slender green or grey leaves and fragile inflorescences resemble a pinkish cloud.
Pink muhly grass thrives in heat, drought, and a range of soils, and its plumes remain vivid throughout autumn and winter.
Muhly Grass’ cotton candy-like blossoms are stunning in early October when other plants are fading.
Choosing Which Pink Muhly Grass To Grow
Cotton candy grass is lovely in crowds or as a specimen. Choose your favorite to support a slope, screen a vista, enhance a border, or frame shorter plants.
Species, Cultivars and Varieties
There are over 150 species of Muhlenbergia , but only a few are widely available.
Although it’s called pink muhly grass, some types of this ornamental grass have pink to pinkish-red or purplish blooms. One cultivar has white blooms.
‘Pink Flamingo’ is a hybrid of M. lindheimeri (a species of bunchgrass) and M. capillaris (pink muhlygrass). Fall brings brilliant pink blossoms over its thin, evergreen foliage. USDA Zones 6–10 plants grow 4–5 feet tall and 15–18 inches broad. Narrow places suit it.
‘Undaunted Ruby’ ( M. reverchonii ) is a pink muhly grass selection that’s native to Texas. Also known as seep muhly grass, it’s hardy in Zones 5 to 10. Its feathery, reddish blooms bend gracefully over its needle-like foliage. The plants mature at 15 to 18 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide.
‘Regal Mist’ ( M. capillaris ‘Lenca’), a tiny, fast-growing pink muhly grass with pinkish-red blooms. Its airy petals shine in the light in Zones 6–10. At 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, it blooms.
‘Rose Muhly’ ( M. reverchonni ) pinkish-red blossoms and fine-textured leaves. Its flowers are looser and smaller than other pink muhly grasses. Hardy in Zones 5–10, it tolerates wetter circumstances than other mulhies.
‘White Cloud’ is a cultivar of M. capillaris has billowy, creamy-white blooms and fine-textured foliage. Zones 7–10 are suggested for its upright growth. Plants grow 3–4 feet without blooming. With flowers, they reach 4–5 feet.
‘Bamboo muhly’( M. dumosa) Arizona and southern Mexico native is Zone 8 hardy. Its bamboo-like grass stalks and delicate green leaves dance in winds. It can grow to 6 feet tall and 5 feet broad, so give it plenty of space in the yard or container. Its small blossoms are unassuming.
Getting the Planting Site Ready
Work your garden soil six inches deep in a spot that gets full sun to part sun. Remove any rocks or other debris and rake the soil until it’s fine.
Plant muhly grass in spring or autumn, one month before the first frost. To promote airflow and disease prevention, space plants as suggested on their tags or labels or at least a few feet apart.
Pink muhly grass can handle salty soil from road salt, irrigation, or other sources. It tolerates shade, but the plants flop over and yield few blooms.
Pink muhly grass prefers slightly acidic to neutral, well-drained soils. Test your planting spot and add compost or organic materials as needed.
How to Plant Pink Muhly Grass
When Does Pink Muhly Grass Grow Best?
Pink muhly blooms best in warm conditions and becomes dormant as temperatures drop.
Should I Start Pink Muhly Grass Indoors?
You can start the pink muhly grass seeds indoors in a good quality seed starting mix. Press them down but don’t cover them because they need light to germinate. Moisten them and keep them in a warm spot in bright, indirect light. When seedlings emerge and form good roots, transplant them into the garden. Space them 30 to 42 inches apart or as directed on the seed package.
Planting Pink Muhly Grass in the Garden
Wait until all chance of frost has passed in the spring to sow pink muhly grass seeds directly in the garden. If you prefer, sow them in late spring or early summer. In either case, press the seeds into the soil but don’t cover them. Keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout in about 10 to 21 days.
Dig holes two or three times wider and no deeper than the root balls for pink muhly grass. Water the plants in the holes. Fill the holes with native soil and organic debris when the water soaks in. Keep plant crowns above soil level. For the first year, water again and maintain the soil uniformly wet, not saturated. Mulch suppresses weeds and retains moisture.
Pink muhly grass may thrive in a container for two years. Check the pot’s drainage. Repot in two or three years with new potting mix.
Growing and Caring for Pink Muhly Grass
Water as needed to keep the soil moist if rainfall is insufficient. Let the top inch or two of soil dry out before watering again. Muhly grass tolerates drought very well and may not even need watering unless there’s a prolonged dry period. Be careful not to overwater when the plants aren’t actively growing.
Muhly grass doesn’t require fertilizer, although you can feed lightly with organic plant food in early spring if new growth looks weak.
Remove weeds to protect your pink grass’s water and nutrients. Mulch deters weeds.
Gulf muhly (pink muhly) is a low-maintenance perennial with few pests and illnesses. Deer avoid pink muhly grass.
How to Propagate Pink Muhly Grass
This ornamental grass is easy to grow from seed or you can propagate it by division every three years. Simply dig up a clump in early spring and cut the root ball into two or three new clumps, keeping some roots and green foliage on each one. Replant the first clump in its original spot and plant the others as directed above. Pink muhly grass seldom needs pruning but you can remove any dead, brown foliage when you’re dividing.
How to Use Pink Muhly Grass in the Garden
Try this beautiful pink grass in borders, pots, around a foundation, as a hedge or screen, along a fence, amid trees and shrubs, or in a meadow. Cut flowers and greenery for fresh or dried bouquets. Pink muhly grass seeds attract birds in October.
Black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, speedwell, Russian sage, decorative grasses, petunias, agaves, salvias, and echeverias make good companions.
Where does pink muhly grass grow best?
Muhlenbergia capillaris grows in the Southeastern United States, from Texas and Kansas to Massachusetts. Pink Muhly is adapted for low-water environments since it grows in dry, rocky soils.
Does pink muhly grass survive winter?
Pink muhly grass may survive winter in US states in growth zones 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Pink muhly may live in zones 1–5 depending on temperature, preparation, and health.
What happens to pink muhly grass in winter?
Pink Muhly Grass remains dormant in Winter after blossoming pink/purple in Autumn. Your Muhly grass is alive, despite appearances.
Does pink muhly grass like full sun?
Pink Muhly Grass is non-invasive, fast-growing, and low-maintenance. It’s pest- and disease-resistant. Muhly Grasses like full sun but may live in partial shade if the soil isn’t too wet. Pink Muhly has lush spring and summer foliage.
What season does muhly grass grow?
Sow pink muhly grass seeds directly in the garden in spring after the last frost. Sow them late spring or early summer. Either way, push the seeds into the soil without covering them. Keep soil wet until seeds emerge in 10–21 days.
How long does it take for pink muhly grass to mature?
Fast-growing: Pink muhly grass will swiftly cover your yard. This clump-forming grass species grows three feet tall and two feet broad in three years.