Silky spike melic is a billow-mounding ornamental grass that displays large, puffy, caterpillar-like seedheads that dance in the breeze.
A herbaceous perennial, it is native to Europe, western Asia and extreme northern Africa. The smooth, narrow leaf blades are green, emerging new in spring, and by late spring the tall, thin stems of the flower clusters develop. These small spikelets are at the tips of the erect stems and are creamy white as they open, and then the seeds mature with tufts of white or pale yellowed fibers. The seedheads look like rabbit's feet or robust, fuzzy caterpillars. Songbirds will enjoy the seeds for food, and if not eaten, will disperse in the wind to sprout nearby, leaving a a naked stem by midsummer. In summer's heat, the plants become dormant, and resume growth in autumn, often remaining fully evergreen, albeit with yellowed tones, in mild winter climates.
Silky spike medic needs a partial sun location in soils that are moist, but certainly well-drained. The fertility of the soil can be moderate to poor, overly rich soils can cause excessive and floppy growth. Avoid excessive watering in the winter months.
Grow this perennial grass in open woodlands, in partially shaded mixed borders, or as an annual from seed in cold winter zones. Its seedheads, occurring so early, would be a surprising but wonderful companion to columbines, large-leaved hostas, and a host of other late spring-flowering perennials.
information source: http://www.learn2grow.com/plants/melica-ciliata/
Genus - Melica
Species - Ciliata
Common name - Silky Spike Melic
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Hardiness zones - 5 - 9
Height - 0,50 m
Spread - 0,60 - 0,80 m
Plant type - Ornamental grass, perennial
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Acid, neutral
Soil type - Clay, loam, sand, well drained
Water requirements - Average
Landscape uses - Cutflower, Mixed Border, city gardens
Bloom season - May - July
Leaf / Flower color - Green, blue - Green / White, Tan
Sow from February to May in pots inside or directly into the soil after the last frost til end of June.
Sow on the surface, tightly press into the soil.
Cover with glass or clear plastic. Keep at about +20C.
Normally germinates very quickly.
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