Stipa gigantea

giant needle grass

giant feather grass

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Outstanding Qualities

Giant needle grass is a statuesque grass. Tufts of eighteen inch foliage explode with emerging seed heads in early summer. The seed heads grow six to eight feet and hold large teardrop-like seeds which dry to a honey gold color. The seed heads last until late summer or early autumn and are spectacular when backlit. Being a native of Spain, Stipa gigantea is drought resistant and should be grown in full sun. Do not over fertilize it as lushly growing plants have week stems that flop. For the most drama grow giant needle grass out of lower growing plants so its full stature can be appreciated. It also looks great growing out of gravel as a specimen plant. It is nice to plant the grass close enough to the walk or lawn so that the viewer can appreciate the dangling seed on close inspection. Even though the foliage is evergreen, this durable plant should be cut back in late winter for a tidy appearance.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: grass

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 10

Flower Color: brown

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: drought tolerant once established

Resistant to: deer

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: red, orange, yellow, purple

Great Color Partners: gold, dark green, blue

Culture Notes
Giant needle grass needs a location with full sun and well-drained or sandy soil. It is drought tolerant once established. This grass can be tidied by raking through the clump to remove the loose dead grass. It can also be cut back in late winter or early spring for a cleaner look. However, if the plant is not vigorous, cutting it back can kill a weak or young plant.