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Inland Sea Oats
Inland Sea Oats

Inland Sea Oats

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Inland Sea Oats
Scientific Name: Chasmanthium latifolium

History/general species info: This attractive grass is often cultivated in gardens and the branches of its spikelets can be used in flower arrangements. One Native American group is said to use its seeds for porridge. Provides cover for birds and seed for small mammals and granivorous birds. This is one of the most shade tolerant ornamental grasses. Adds excellent contrast and texture almost year-round to the border, shaded garden, native plant garden, naturalized area, along streams or on the periphery of the water garden. Naturalize or use as specimens or accents.

Characteristics: Grass. Clump-forming. Perennial. Popular low-maintenance shade grass. Grows in sand, loam and clay. Good for holding slopes. Deer resistant. Has large, drooping, oat-like flower spikelets from slender, arching branches. The blue-green, bamboo-like leaves often turn a bright yellow-gold, especially in sunnier sites, in fall. Reseeds easily and can expand aggressively within a couple of years, making a solid mat in moist loams. It has been used to prevent soil erosion along streams. The seed stalks are attractive in flower arrangements.

Native: No

Flower: Green / Tan Fruit

Planting / Care: Shade. Medium water requirement. Moist sands, loams, and clays. Poorly drained okay. Avoid planting in continuous full sun, as its leaves turn yellowish without adequate shade. The more water it receives, the more tolerant it will be of intense sun, but it still prefers shade. For a neat appearance, cut dead stalks back to the basal rosette in mid- to late winter. If leaves exceed 2 feet tall by spring and you'd like to keep it shorter, cut them in half in May or June If it becomes aggressive, remove unwanted clumps. Very easy to transplant. 

Size and Spacing: Height:  2-4’  Spread: 2’

Light requirement: Shade/Part Shade

Wildlife: Birds, butterflies (Larval Host: Pepper & salt skipper butterfly, Bells road side skipper butterfly, Bronzed roadside skipper butterfly), general wildlife

Links: 

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=chla5

photo credits: Ernie Edmonson, Wikipedia