How to tell if Pampas Grass is dormant or dead?

Asked June 24, 2017, 10:05 AM EDT

In Spring 2016 I planted a single pampas grass from my local nursery along with 10 boxwood plants. The boxwood are thriving. The pampas grass grew nicely last summer and produced a nice plume. In early Spring 2017, I cut back the dead growth (leaving 5-6 inches above the ground). So far I am not seeing any signs of growth. Is that normal? Is it a late summer plant? I am in SW Iowa and we have had both rain and sun. I live on the bottom of a north slope. The soil is good though we have had much mole activity for the first time. I planted the pampas grass amid a stand of day lilies which are just now blooming and my nearby hosta plants all came up like gang busters and they are only 20 feet away. I spoke with a farm neighbor and she said she lost a pampas grass plant to winter kill because we did not have enough snow cover. I noticed my yucca plant which has been around for 15 years appeared dead, but recently a new plant is sprouting from the side of the old plant.

Mills County Iowa

2 Responses

If there is no sign of life (green growth) at this time, the "pampas grass" is likely dead.

Common plant names can be confusing. Several grasses are sometimes referred to as pampas grass. True pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) cannot be successfully grown in Iowa as it is not reliably cold hardy. Certain types of Miscanthus are also sometimes referred to as pampas grass. Most types of Miscanthus are cold hardy in Iowa.

Thanks Richard, guess I will dig it up and start again with Miscanthus.