Morning Light Maiden Grass Care: Growing Maiden Grass ‘Morning Light’

By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

With so many varieties of ornamental grasses on the market, it can be difficult to determine which one is best for your site and needs. Here at Our site, we try our best to make these difficult decisions as easy as possible by providing you with clear, accurate information on a wide array of plant species and varieties. In this article, we will discuss Morning Light ornamental grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’). Let’s learn more about how to grow Morning Light maiden grass.

Morning Light Maiden Ornamental Grass

Native to regions of Japan, China, and Korea, Morning Light maiden grass may be commonly known as Chinese Silvergrass, Japanese Silvergrass, or Eulaliagrass. This maiden grass is noted as a new, improved cultivar of Miscanthus sinensis.

Hardy in U.S. zones 4-9, Morning Light maiden grass blooms later than other Miscanthus varieties, and produces feathery pink-silver plumes in late summer into fall. In autumn, these plumes turn a gray to tan as they set seed and they persist throughout winter, providing seed for birds and other wildlife.

Morning Light ornamental grass gained popularity from its finely textured, arching blades, which give the plant a fountain-like appearance. Each narrow blade has thin white leaf margins, making this grass shimmer in the sunlight or moonlight as the breeze passes through.

The green clumps of Morning Light maiden grass can grow 5-6 feet tall (1.5-2 m.) and 5-10 feet wide (1.5-3 m.). They spread by seed and rhizomes and can quickly naturalize in a suitable site, which makes them excellent for use as a hedge or border. It can also be a dramatic addition to large containers.

Growing Maiden Grass ‘Morning Light’

Morning Light maiden grass care is minimal. It will tolerate most soil types, from dry and rocky to moist clay. Once established, it has only moderate drought tolerance, so watering in heat and drought should be a regular part of your care regiment. It is tolerant of black walnut and air pollutants.

Morning Light grass prefers to grow in full sun, but can tolerate some light shade. Too much shade can cause it to become limp, floppy, and stunted. This maiden grass should be mulched around the base in autumn, but do not cut the grass back until early spring. You can cut the plant back to about 3 inches (7.5 cm.) in early spring before new shoots appear.

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Landscaping Uses and Care for Maiden Grass

Maiden grass is a tall ornamental grass that would be worth growing for its graceful arching form alone. But it boasts other desirable features, too, including coppery flower heads in early fall that transform into silvery white plumes. When in flower, this clump-forming plant will reach 6 to 8 feet tall, and its stems redden in the fall. A silver stripe runs up the middle of the sword-like green leaves. While the leaves yellow somewhat by mid-fall and fade to a beige in winter, they are still colorful enough to provide much-needed winter interest.

Plant Library

Morning Light Maiden Grass

Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'

Morning Light Maiden Grass fruit

Morning Light Maiden Grass fruit

Morning Light Maiden Grass

Morning Light Maiden Grass

Morning Light Maiden Grass foliage

Morning Light Maiden Grass foliage

Other Names: Japanese Silver Grass

This variety has very narrow green foliage with a white edge an upright cascading habit that is quite symmetrical copper plumes rise above in fall over tan foliage and produce cream seeds great winter interest

Morning Light Maiden Grass features bold plumes of coppery-bronze flowers rising above the foliage in late summer. Its attractive grassy leaves are green in color with distinctive white edges. The foliage often turns tan in fall. The creamy white seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance from early fall to late winter.

Morning Light Maiden Grass is an herbaceous perennial grass with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Morning Light Maiden Grass is recommended for the following landscape applications

  • Vertical Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use

Morning Light Maiden Grass will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Morning Light Maiden Grass

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You don’t have to be a morning person to appreciate Morning Light Maiden Grass. This lovable Fringe is appealing at all times of day. It has a soft appearance, growing into a rounded, fountain-shaped clump of thickly set, fine foliage. Each slim green leaf is marked with a central white stripe and is bordered by a white margin on both edges, so that the overall effect is a refreshing, cool, pastel green. Every little breeze tousles the delicate foliage, adding to the feeling of softness and lightness. Feathery white plumes complete the look, and whether you view them in the light of morning or with the setting sun, they’ll catch the sunlight in a way that will enchant you!

Growth Facts

The Story

Maiden Grass is an essential element of Asian gardens, being native to Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan. The Japanese in particular have been cultivating different forms of it for ages. Morning Light Maiden Grass has been cherished in Japanese gardens for well over 100 years. It wasn’t known in this country until representatives of the U.S. National Arboretum, John Creech and Sylvester “Skip” March, travelled to Japan in the 1970s and brought back samples. The late Kurt Bluemel, Maryland nurseryman and “King of Grasses,” gave this new-to-us Fringe its English name.

The Details

Morning Light Maiden Grass is an extremely late-blooming Fringe, sending up its fluffy “flowers” in early fall, about a week after Gracillimus Maiden Grass. This means it goes into winter with brand new plumes that retain their fresh and full appearance throughout most of the winter season. If you’re looking for eye-appeal during the cold months as well as during the growing season, Morning Light is the Fringe for you.

How to Grow

Unlike most other Maiden Grasses, Morning Light can handle light shade, although flowering will be heaviest in full sun. Provide it with regular water throughout the growing season. Morning Light thrives in a variety of soil types. It also makes a handsome container plant for a large decorative pot or planter box. In late winter, cut back all old growth to within several inches of the ground using manual or electric hedge trimmers or a bow saw. You can tie the stalks up with twine first to make clean up easier. Fresh new growth will emerge when the weather turns warm.

Landscape Ideas

Morning Light Miscanthus Grass works great in clumps of 3 or even by itself. It's perfect for an accent in any type of garden or mixed bed. Try this grass in containers for a really cool look. The flowing habit and unique color and texture soften areas of the landscape and bring vibrance to areas that are dull. Try junipers, physocarpus, hollies and arborvitae for companion plants.

Plant 5 feet apart to give each plant plenty of room to thrive.

For additional options, be sure to browse our Pink Muhly Grass, Ornamental Grasses and Miscanthus Maiden Grass collection.

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