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Chasmanthium (kas-MAN-thee-um)

Common Name:  Northern sea oats, wood oat grass

Light:  - Full sun to part shade

Soil:  Average to rich, moist but well-drained

Moisture:  Average to somewhat moist

Blooms:  Fall

Zones:  3 - 8

Chasmanthium latifolium

Chasmanthium latifolium in winter

Chasmanthium 'River Mist'

Chasmanthium Description and Cultural Information

Chasmanthium latifolium, northern sea oats, wood oats. 3 - 4'. Chasmanthium is a warm season grass with clump forming, graceful, bamboo-like foliage. Although they are similar in appearance to sea oats, they are an inland species native to moist areas and woodland slopes, so the common name wood oats is more appropriate than northern sea oats. The dangling, oat-like blooms are borne on slender, nodding stems in late summer. The dry seed heads make a pleasant rustling sound in the wind and last through much of the winter.

The variegated variety Chasmanthium 'River Mist' PP#20643 has white blades with green stripes and pink tints on the newest foliage. It is a fairly slow growing plant but is perectly hardy and is very attractive, especially as it matures. Expect it to grow 24 to 30" high and wide.

How to grow:  Plant wood oats in sun or shade in average to rich, moist soil. In full sun they need more moisture to maintain good green foliage. Plants tend to droop more in shade, but it adds a graceful touch to the presentation. They will readily self sow but the seedlings generally sprout around the main clump and can be weeded or raked out when they appear. Divide plants in the spring, if needed, however they are quite long lived and easy to grow with little care.

Landscape uses:  Use Chasmanthium as an accent plant, a groundcover, or let it naturalize. The seed heads make excellent cut flowers in fresh and dried arrangements.

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