Rattlesnake Quaking Grass Info: Care Of Ornamental Quaking Grass


By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

By Mary Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Looking for an ornamental grass that offers unique interest? Why not consider growing rattlesnake grass, also known as quaking grass. Read on to learn how to grow rattlesnake grass and take advantage of this fun plant.

Quaking Grass Information

What is rattlesnake grass? Native to the Mediterranean, this ornamental quaking grass (Briza maxima) consists of neat clumps that reach mature heights of 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 45.5 cm.). Tiny blooms shaped like rattlesnake rattles dangle from slender, graceful stems rising above the grass, providing color and movement as they shimmer and rattle in the breeze — and gives rise to its common names. Also known as rattlesnake quaking grass, this plant is available both in perennial and annual varieties.

Rattlesnake quaking grass is readily found in most garden centers and nurseries, or you can propagate the plant by scattering seeds on prepared soil. Once established, the plant self-seeds readily.

How to Grow Rattlesnake Grass

Although this hardy plant tolerates partial shade, it performs best and produces more blooms in full sunlight.

Rattlesnake grass needs rich, moist soil. Dig 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm.) of mulch or compost into the planting area if the soil is poor or doesn’t drain well.

Water regularly while new roots grow during the first year. Water deeply to saturate the roots, and then let the top 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm.) of soil dry before watering again. Once established, rattlesnake grass is drought tolerant and needs water only during hot, dry weather.

Rattlesnake quaking grass generally doesn’t require fertilizer and too much creates a floppy, weak plant. If you think your plant needs fertilizer, apply a dry general-purpose, slow-release fertilizer at planting time and as soon as new growth appears every spring. Use no more than one-fourth to one-half cup (60 to 120 mL.) per plant. Be sure to water after applying fertilizer.

To keep the plant neat and healthy, cut the grass down to a height of 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm.) before new growth emerges in spring. Don’t cut the plant down in autumn; the clumps of dry grass add texture and interest to the winter garden and protect the roots during the winter.

Dig and divide rattlesnake grass in spring if the clump looks overgrown or if the grass dies down in the center. Discard the unproductive center and plant the divisions in a new location, or give them to plant-loving friends.

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Big Quaking Grass

  • Ornamental Grass Sowing Instructions
    Planting Depth
    :1/4”
    Seed Spacing:1”
    Plant Spacing:12”
    Days to Germination:14-21 days
    Germination Temperature:55°-65°F

Seeds are best direct-sown in mid-spring and thinned to 12" apart. If starting indoors, sow into individual pots 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Cover the seeds lightly and keep them moist until germination. Harden off the seedlings by slowly introducing them to the outdoors over the span of a week, and then carefully transplant them, disturbing the roots as little as possible, to 12" apart in full sun and welldraining soil after all danger of frost has passed. Ornamental grass is relatively drought-tolerant once established. To dry the blooms, cut stems, tie them into bundles, and hang them upside down in a dry, dark spot for several weeks. Annual. Summer flowering.

  • Ornamental Grass Sowing Instructions
    Planting Depth
    :1/4”
    Seed Spacing:1”
    Plant Spacing:12”
    Days to Germination:14-21 days
    Germination Temperature:55°-65°F

Seeds are best direct-sown in mid-spring and thinned to 12" apart. If starting indoors, sow into individual pots 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Cover the seeds lightly and keep them moist until germination. Harden off the seedlings by slowly introducing them to the outdoors over the span of a week, and then carefully transplant them, disturbing the roots as little as possible, to 12" apart in full sun and welldraining soil after all danger of frost has passed. Ornamental grass is relatively drought-tolerant once established. To dry the blooms, cut stems, tie them into bundles, and hang them upside down in a dry, dark spot for several weeks. Annual. Summer flowering.


Quaking Grass Information - How To Grow Rattlesnake Grass - garden


Ornamental Grass Briza maxima 'The Greater Quaking Grass' has blue green leaves and flower heads that hang like scaly heart shaped lockets that are tinged with pink from late spring to mid summer. This annual Briza prefers richer soil than most grasses and will tolerate semi shade well. Flowering in 10 to 12 weeks from spring sowing, they are very easy to grow to perfection.

Briza maxima has graceful, pendant, nodding heads of oval-shaped, pearly-white seedheads. They make a wonderful cut flower adding elegance and feeling to summer and winter decorations.
When first open, the seed heads are green but gradually take on golden shades as summer progresses and become almost animated when touched by a gentle summer breeze.

Sowing: Sow in April-May and/or late August-September
Briza are best sown directly where they are to flower in spring. Grow in sun and in well drained soil. Sow 6mm (¼in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart in well cultivated soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Germination is occasionally slow, so be patient!
Thin out the seedlings to 23cm (9in) apart. Replant the seedlings that have been removed

Cultivation:
Feed in spring like ordinary perennials, with a single dressing of a general fertiliser. Even without an annual feed, most grasses will put on a first-rate show.
The more nitrogen grasses receive the greener and further they'll grow. This spreading habit is fine in a field, but in a garden they may become too lush and the flower quality may suffer.
The finely textured blades form dense, long-lived evergreen clumps, and forgivingly put up with winds, drought and salt spray. Collect the seed before it disperses to use the following year.
Once the plant is established, divide in March to April. It is relatively easy to propagate by division. Do this in spring, not autumn, as some newly divided plants may rot before they've developed a good root system.

Drying:
Briza can be used as a cut flower, it will last 10 to 14 days in a vase. It can also be dried and makes interesting focal or secondary flowers in dried arrangements. It is particularly useful at Christmas when the stems and seedheads can be sprayed silver, gold etc.
To dry, gather when the heads have changed colour but before they start to break up, cut the flower at the height of bloom and hang upside down in a cool, dark place to dry. If dried correctly they will hold their colour well.

Plant Uses:
Architectural, Cottage/Informal Garden, Drought Resistant, Flower Arranging, Flowers Borders and Beds, Low Maintenance or Mediterranean.

Origin:
Briza is a genus of annual and perennial grasses in the family Poaceae, comprising of around twelve species. It is native to north temperate regions.
The commonest, Briza media is a delightful little plant usually of limestone or chalky areas. Widespread in Britain except for northern Scotland, it is found in the wild on chalk, grasslands and meadows. It grows freely in damp areas of the fens in East Anglia.
Briza maxima has with larger flower heads, is the much less common Mediterranean immigrant and likely garden escape. It has successfully escaped into the countryside in the south of England but becomes significantly scarcer as you go north. There are few records in Scotland or Ireland.

Nomenclature:
The genus name Briza is taken from the Greek word briza which is a kind of rye-like grain growing in Macedonia.
The species names reflect their relative size: - Briza minima is taken from 'minus' meaning small
Briza media meaning "the middle," because the plant is midway between two others with regard to some identifying characteristic such as size. (The word 'medium' is also used as a species name in a number of other plants to indicate the same meaning, ref Campanula medium)
and Briza maxima, which means maximum, the largest.

Briza earns itself the common name of Quaking Grass because the flower and seedheads tremble on their stalks in breezes. Briza maxima is called the Greater Quaking Grass in reference to the size of the seedheads.
The playfully noisy nature of Briza has earned it amusing names like Cowquakes, Didder and Dillies. It earns Rattlesnake for the rattle-like, heart shaped inflorescences.
Other names include 'Pearl Grass', Trimmling Jockies, Doddering Dillies, Doddering Dickies or Quaker Grass, the Briza or Shaking Grass.

Folklore:
Children in Wiltshire were told that if the grass ever stopped quaking it would turn into silver shillings.
Other folklore says that Quaking Grass only grows in places where a young (usually lovelorn) woman has drowned herself!
A Yorkshire name for the quacking grass is "trembling jockies" and according to a local proverb:-
“ A trimmling-jock i' t' house
An you weeant hev a mouse.”

Dried in bunches, with its brown seeds on tall stems, it was commonly placed on the mantel-piece, as it was believed to be obnoxious to mice.


How To Grow Briza Grass From Seed.

*Being Hardy Briza Grass can be sown in both spring and autumn.

*The general consensus is that direct sowing provides the strongest plants but I find sowing them in pots works just fine…and the seedlings have a simple charm that I love. I always have a tray of seedlings around for a few weeks in spring…they are good company for when the dog isn’t talking to me.

*One can plant (or thin) the seedlings a little closer together than you may have thought…a hand span is fine, I tend to make a staggered line. This year I have grown some alongside my sweet peas…no…I’m probably not going to win any awards for that but I suspect it will have a certain twinkle.

*They don’t like having soggy roots…and who can blame them…so plant them in free draining soil.


Briza maxima

Briza maxima is a species of the grass genus Briza. It is native to Northern Africa, the Azores, Western Asia, and Southern Europe and is cultivated or naturalised in the British Isles, Australasia, the western United States, Central and South America, and Hawaii. [1]

This species has a large number of common names, including big quaking grass, great quaking grass, greater quaking-grass, [2] large quaking grass, blowfly grass, rattlesnake grass, shelly grass, rattle grass, and shell grass. [3] [4] [1]

It grows to a height of 60 cm. The seeds and leaves are edible. [5]

  1. ^ ab"Briza maxima". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) . Retrieved 2007-10-18 .
  2. ^
  3. BSBI List 2007 (xls) . Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26 . Retrieved 2014-10-17 .
  4. ^Joondalup Coastal Foreshore Natural Areas Management Plan Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  5. ^Briza maxima.Archived August 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine National Weeds Strategy. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  6. ^
  7. "Briza maxima". Survival and Self Sufficiency . Retrieved 9 September 2011 .

This Pooideae article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


Overwintering Pampas Grass

Pampas grass can survive the cold months of winter, and even snowfall provided that you prepare it for the winter season.

During the last days of fall, cut back any old foliage to make room for new growth the following season. We recommend long-handle loopers for trimming your pampas grass. Make sure you remove all of the flower stalks that are blooming, as the seeds may spread into your neighbor’s yard and start to grow wild.

Remove any stalks that are over 1-foot in height. Before you trim, use string to tie the plant together. This process helps to drain any excess water from the plant before cutting. If you live in a region of the United States, then you can overwinter your pampas grass without any hassle.

Spread mulch around the base of the plant and cover it with burlap to provide the grass with protection from the cold. Remove the burlap in the early springtime after the last frosts fall. Using this method, the roots of your pampas grass stay warm and dry during the wintertime, ensuring that your plant survives the season and thrives the following summer.


Watch the video: How to cut Ornamental Grasses in the Spring #Short


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