Miscanthus 'Giganteus' - Giant Chinese Silver Grass

formerly listed as Miscanthus floridulus; aka Miscanthus japonicus

One outstanding quality of this large grass is lending a tropical effect to any landscape. Even in cold, snowy climates, Giant Chinese silver grass remains upright throughout the winter. These large grasses are particularly effective when used as a specimen in a park or zoo.

A giant for the garden! In the picture on the left the gardener is 5'10" tall. She says the plant is 6 or 7 years old but it was tall the very first year. This specimen is growing in Zone 4 however due to the shorter growing season, it has not bloomed. But it makes such a great statement with its foliage, who cares if it blooms or not!

Tip: Lisa L. says there is a magnificent display of Miscanthus Giganteus at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Description: warm season*; clump forming; very robust
Foliage is green; blade width is 3 cm (1.25"); 280-370 cm (9'-12') in height
Flowers Sept through frost; 30 cm (12") above foliage

Ideal conditions: full sun; moist fertile soil; tolerates a wide range of soil types; moderately drought tolerant; holds up to wind and snow

Zone: 5- 9, likely quite a bit colder (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Suggested uses: specimen, border, screen, hedge, background plant, massing, by the water, arrangements

When divide: when it shows signs of life in the spring, continuing until the new growth is about 18" tall; only in the spring (further info on dividing grasses)

When to plant or transplant: plant bare root plants only in late spring to early summer, when the soil is warm, about the same time you plant your bean or corn seeds or put out your tomato plants. The roots will grow only in warm soil. Planting too early in the spring may cause the roots to rot. Similar story in the fall when the roots may not grow enough to establish before the cold and wet of winter, resulting in the demise of the plant.

When to cut back: we enjoy the foliage of Miscanthus so much that we like to leave it standing until the new growth starts to appear, possibly as late as May. We also like the combination of the tan foliage and spring bulbs. Cut back to about 6" from the crown of the plant.

Partner with: Rudbeckia, Inula racemosa 'Sonnenspeer'

Good plants for in front of M. Giganteus: Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' (c), other Miscanthus, taller Deschampsias (c), Chasmanthium, Panicum. Cool season grasses (c) are recommended due to their ability to provided interest earlier in the growing season.

Season of interest: July till spring; will likely remain standing all winter

Drought tolerance rating: 3 (water to root depth once a week); further info

Recommended spacing between plants: 150-225 cm (60-90") why such a difference?

Native to: lowlands in Japan, Taiwan and the Pacific Islands

Plant form: upright and arching

Pronunciation: Miscanthus (mis-KAN-thus)


*a warm season grass likes to grow in warm weather. Before it will show signs of life in the spring, the soil must warm up, and be warm for possibly as long as two weeks.

More ornamental grasses

Compare Miscanthus 'Giganteus' to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Miscanthus giganteus - Giant Chinese Silver Grass
Miscanthus 'Giganteus' - Giant Chinese
Silver Grass
Photo credit: Marcia Sofonoff


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