Pink Muhly Grass-Muhlenbergia Capillaris

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The Gulf coast native grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris is the official harbinger of fall in the Fairegarden. It is the chosen plant to represent Wildflower Wednesday for September, 2013, the meme of my good friend Gail of Clay and Limestone.

Pink muhly grass on an overcast day

Pink muhly grass on an overcast day

Its time has come. The planting on the steep slope is always the first to reach peak pink. It is the view that greets us as we walk out the back door.

Pink muhly grass bedazzles when the sun is shining

Pink muhly grass bedazzles when the sun is shining

Smile inducing all the time but when the sun is shining brightly, the pink sparkles are so vivid you might want to grab the sunglasses for better viewing.

Pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris on an overcast day

Pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris on an overcast day


Pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris is more pink in bright sunshine

Pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris is more pink in bright sunshine


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Some facts about the muhly grass from an article in Fine Gardening magazine:
Height- 3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread- 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit- Clumps
Growth Pace- Moderate Grower
Light- Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture- Adaptable
Maintenance- Low
Tolerance- Deer Tolerant;Drought Tolerant
USDA Zones 7-10
Characteristics- Native; Self Seeds; Showy Flowers; Showy Foliage; Showy Seed Heads
Bloom Time- Fall
Flower Color- Pink Flower; Purple/ Lavender Flower
Uses- Beds and Borders, Container, Ground Covers, Cut Flower, Dried Flower, Naturalizing, Specimen Plant/ Focal Point, Suitable as Annual, Waterside
Style Cottage Garden, Meadow Garden
Seasonal Interest- Winter Interest, Summer Interest, Fall Interest

Pink muhly grass, still pretty on December 13, 2012

Pink muhly grass, still pretty on December 13, 2012

Muhlenbergia capillaris will be a focal point in my garden from September through December, when it will get cut down to the ground, sometimes even mowed, before the new growth begins to show.

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Recently offspring Semi and her offspring LTB, look how he has grown!, came over to dig some plants for her garden. In snapping some images of them working together, this photo reveals her looking up the slope, most likely at the pink muhly grass. She has several patches of pink muhly on her own slope already. Blooming size seedlings were dug for her from the Knot Garden gravel paths that day. Do you suppose she is dreaming of her grass having a similar appearance some day? It can happen!

For more information about Muhlenbergia capillaris and more photos, here are previous years’ posts about it, some are more clever than others:

Do You Like Pink? September 2012
Pink Muhly Grass Time October 2011
More Muhly December 2011
Muhly Grass Grand Opening October 2010
Waiting For Muhly-Finally Over November 2010
Muhly Watch Friday September 2009
Muhly Grass-See You In September January 2009

In addition to these blog posts, I wrote an article for the April 2012 edition of State By State Magazine that can be seen by clicking here.


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25 Responses to Pink Muhly Grass-Muhlenbergia Capillaris

  1. Ah lovely as always. I saw a grass (quite reed-like though) sold recently as a muhlenbergia. Of course I forgot the species name and haven’t been able to check on it… But I know it was NOT your pink muchly. A well. One can dream, can’t one! 🙂

    Hi Jack, thanks for visiting. There are several species of Muhlenbergia, I have a couple growing here. They are nice, but not with the striking pink inflorescens of M. capillaris. But if they are selling the genus at all, that is a good sign!

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have actually seen the pink muhly grass for sale here. I was tempted to try it. It is pretty this time of year. Yes, your little guy has grown. Time does fly when watching Grands grow. Your hillside looks beautiful with all of that texture.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by. Hooray for finding the pink muhly for sale. Get it and plant it in the sunniest, best drainage that you have! LTB is shooting up like a weed himself, yes. He was so into helping dig the plants and did a very good job, all by himself. Someday he will be doing the heavy digging for his grandmother.

  3. Lea says:

    Oh my! I must have that!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!
    Lea’s Menagerie

    Hi Lea, thanks and Happy WW to you! I see the pink muhly grass is for sale now at Lowe’s. That is where I got my original two plants from whence all these other came.

  4. gail says:

    Gorgeous is the perfect word for Pink Muhly! it’s spectacular in your photos but, I can tell you that I am thrilled to have seen it in person. I love it and finally have a well draining hillside that I can plant it on! Yes, I am doing the happy dance for me! happy Wildflower Wednesday. xoxogail

    Hi Gail, thanks and what good news that you now have the perfect spot for a swath of pink muhly grass! xoxoxo

  5. entwinedlife says:

    Love seeing your beautiful slope in each season…

    Hi Jayme, thanks so much.

  6. Absolutely one of my favorite grasses! In fact I just purchased some more to add to a slope garden. It looks so gorgeous, especially when it catches the light.

    Hi Karin, thanks for stopping by. I am so glad to hear you have it, as well. The light does magic tricks with it.

  7. So pretty! Looks like cotton candy.

    Hi Wren, thanks for visiting. Cotton candy, yes, so airy and light and appealing.

  8. meander1 says:

    It is always a treat and thrill to see clumps of pink muhly…whether it’s pictures of someone else’s or gazing upon my own in person. Swaths of it never disappoint. Magical, mesmerizing, mystical, magnetic, magnificent…ha, but I don’t have to tell you!

    Hi Michaele, thanks so much. I love seeing this grass, too, in my garden or anywhere else. I wish it were more widely used. The very first time I saw it was at the beach in South Carolina in October. The sun was setting as we walked out the boardwalk to the ocean and the dunes were ablaze in pink as far as the eye could see. No camera way back then, but I will never forget it.

    • meander1 says:

      Our local Lowes and/or Home Depot has had nice size pots of it for sale recently. It’s just starting to flower out for them and I wonder if that will make them sell quickly. I suspect it’s better to plant in the spring so that it has time to get established since it is marginally hardy for our area. Lordy, lordy, I love the stuff!

      It just doesn’t look as pretty in the pots lined up at Lowe’s as it does planted out in a garden setting in strong sunlight. I hope they sell all of the inventory to folks who will love it, too.

  9. Semi says:

    I was thinking how lovely the pink Muhly looks in your garden!! Thank you for all the plants! It was wonderful to be there and with LTB at my side. Your garden is always so inspiring . Love semi

    It was an all around lovely day, dear Semi. Thank you for coming and helping me clear out some extra plants.
    Love, Frances

  10. Diane says:

    This grass is absolutely beautiful. Wish it would grow in the north. Thank you for sharing this beauty with us.

    Hi Diane, thanks. I have given some to a friend in central Pennsylvania who planted it in a protected, south facing, well drained spot. It has lived on there for several years and he just added more. He is zone 5a.

  11. Marguerite says:

    SO etheral! I just love the photo of Semi and her little boy. He will remember that day in the garden, so much nature, so much nurture…. deep in his bones all his life. In reading the Fine Gardening description of the Pink M. under flowers it says pink, semi colon, and then Lavender Purple. Does that mean there is a lavender variety?

    Hi Marguerite, thanks. LTB loves to come here and wants to be out in the garden the entire time, as do the other grands. I love that they love it. I believe the description by Fine Gardening refers to the color in sunlight versus in the shade or overcast. There is only pink, as far as I know, although there are other species of Muhlenbergia.

  12. Sarit says:

    Oh they are so beautiful…Can they be grown from seed?

    Hi Sarit, thanks so much. The pink muhly grass seeds itself in my gravel paths and the seedlings are moved to garden beds after about a year or so. I have not saved seed and tried to germinate it, but would suggest if you can get seed, to use gravel or grit as a mulch.

  13. Dee says:

    Oh, how I love this post! Faire, your pink muhly is such a highlight for me in fall. I’ve now added several stands of it to my garden too.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks for your sweet words. I love your pink muhly, too!

  14. Shirley says:

    It looks amazing massed in your garden! Love this grass and have a long row of it along the driveway which will bloom in a few weeks. I also love this idea of grasses for Wildflower Wednesday.

    Hi Shirley, thanks for stopping by. I am so glad to hear you have your own driveway row of the pink muhly. That is such a good place to enjoy it.

  15. bittster says:

    That’s so magical. I have it here in NE Pennsylvania and it is hardy…. but as soon as it really starts to show off the frost comes to knock it down. I usually cross my fingers for an indian summer and imagine a mass showing like yours!

    Hi Bittster, thanks. I am tickled pink to hear you are growing it in NE PA, even if the bloom comes so late. May this year be one in which the bloom peaks before frost. Here, the frost does no damage until about mid-December when it bleaches to light tan. Still pretty, though.

  16. Phillip says:

    I look forward to seeing your muhly grass every fall, beautiful as always.

    Thanks, Phillip. You are sweet.

  17. indygardener says:

    Pink muhly is beautiful but sadly, it wouldn’t be hardy in my garden. Such the luck. I wish I could find a “northern” version to be the harbinger of Autumn in my garden!

    Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by. It sounds from some of the comments that it would be possible for the pink muhly to grow in your garden. You should give it a try!

  18. Hannah says:

    I already fell in love with Pink Muhly grass and managed to find some seed after failing to find it in nurseries here. I’ll have to check Lowe’s. I am in major plant lust looking at your lovely photos. It seems like a good plant to fill in spaces between other plants? When I was looking at seed, one nursery had both pink and purple cultivars for sale, so I guess someone has developed purple ones. I hope it won’t be hard to grow, I can try planting some outside as well as under lights.

    Hi Hannah, thanks for sharing here. I was not aware of a purple variety being developed, thanks for the info. The pink muhly gets quite large when in bloom, one plant taking up about three to five feet of space. Our best germination comes in the gravel pathways. Good luck!

  19. Diana Studer says:

    You’ve changed! I used to battle with your light on dark, Now I can revel in your lovely garden. What a joy to pass your plants on two generations!

    Hi Diana, thanks for coming on over and reading in the past even with the dark background. My custom design on wordpress expired, I no longer felt like paying to maintain that look. The theme is nice but I might change it in the future, but no more dark backgrounds, I promise! It is a joy to garden with my family, nothing better.

  20. Rose says:

    Oh, how I always look forward to Muhly time! It’s as beautiful as ever. And my, how LTB has grown–wasn’t he just a little tyke not that long ago??

    Hi Rose, thanks for being such a loyal reader. The muhly never fails to please. LTB is shooting up to the sky. He was an able helper that day, and very much involved with the plant digging.

  21. sharon says:

    why oh why cant I grow this? i love it so

    Hi Sharon, there have been reports of the pink muhly growing in northeastern Pennsylvania, so maybe there is hope for you!

  22. Les says:

    I know it’s fall when I see your Muhly blooming. BTW, I like your blog’s new look. it matches the Muhly.

    Hi Les, thanks for that. I can change the background color on this blog theme, and the header photo. It might change for the seasons if I can find the right long, wide shot that I like. The muhly is perfect for it right now.

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