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Southern Plains Regional Reports

Magnificent Muhly Grasses

These drought-tolerant grasses come in a variety of sizes and colors to suit your garden

These big muhlies make a tidy border at the edge of a lawn. Photo: Karen Beaty

The muhly grass genus, Muhlenbergia, contains over 150 species of grasses and was named after the self-taught German American botanist Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg (1753–1815). Several grasses in this genus are excellent candidates for Southern Plains gardens. Hardy, drought-tolerant, and easy to care for, they like full or partial sun. Here are my favorites.

Gulf muhly’s striking pink color adds interest to a fall garden. Photo: Lynn Felici-Gallant

Gulf muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris, Zones 6–10)

Gulf muhly, also known as pink muhly, is perhaps the best-known muhly grass in our region due to its hazy, ethereal pink blooms in the fall. Muhlies are clump-forming grasses, and gulf muhly tends to form a clump about 2 to 3 feet wide and tall. Tall, purplish pink inflorescences appear at the crown and take on a feathery look that is striking in group plantings. A cultivar of Muhlenbergia capillaris called ‘White Cloud’ is a gorgeous alternative…

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