Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light' - Morning Light Maiden Grass

Much of the very narrow blade of Morning Light is white, so it is not able to absorb as much energy from the sun and it therefore takes longer than other Miscanthus to bulk up. It is also a late bloomer but it lovely form and variegated look add interest to the landscape when not in bloom.

Description: warm season*; clump forming
Foliage is green with white midrib; blade width is .7 cm (1/4"); 75-100 cm (30-40") in height; 90 cm (36") wide
Flowers early Sept through frost; 100-150 cm (40-60")

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 (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Suggested uses: specimen, large container, groups, sunny border, at the water's edge, dried arrangements, along walkways

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. 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: Sesleria autumnalis, Festuca glauca 'Boulder Blue', Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Coreopsis verticillata 'Grandiflora'.

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: 50-100 cm (20-40") why such a difference?

Native to: Miscanthus sinensis is native to marshes, slopes, mountainsides of Eastern Asia and west to Africa. It is a source for thatching material for temple roofs and homes.

Pronunciation: Miscanthus (mis-KAN-thus) sinensis (sin-EN-sis)


*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 sinensis 'Morning Light' to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'
Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'
photo courtesy Janus Gardens