A complete guide to growing pampas grass

In our opinion, you can never have too much pampas, so if you’re interested in growing your own or want to know how to maintain and take care of it, here’s a handy guide. Good luck with the growing – we hope your pampas grows up to be as beautiful and fluffy as it can be!

pampas grass growing against blue sky

How to grow pampas grass from seed

Growing pampas grass is pretty easy, as long as you do it at the right time of the year and in the right way. All you need is somewhere the sun shines, some decent soil and lots of seeds. Read on for more details of when and where is best to grow your pampas grass.

Where is best to plant pampas grass?

In direct sunlight: When growing pampas grass from seed, pick somewhere sunny. Pampas seeds love the sun and they need it in order for the seeds to put out shoots so your pampas can start to grow

In fertile soil: What do we mean by fertile? Soil that is full of nutrients and not too hard. You can run tests on soil to see if it’s fertile (you can get these from DIY stores or online) and these will tell you if it’s too acidic or alkaline. 

Generally speaking, if the soil is similar in most areas of your garden and other plants tend to grow well, you should be fine. However, if you want to add some compost (shop bought or homemade with vegetable peel and grass clippings) to give the soil more nutrients, it’s only likely to improve your pampas’ chance of growing to be tall and strong.

In soil that drains well: another important point to mention is not to plant pampas in soil that gets waterlogged. Pampas don’t like heavy, damp soil and are hardy plants; they can even survive droughts really well once they’re established.

In its own space. Don’t plant pampas too close to anything else, because it needs room to grow both upwards and outwards. It can also grow pretty tall, so if you have a lovely view, don’t plant it directly outside your window.

When choosing where to plant a pampas, you should also consider whether you have children and if they’re likely to play near it. Pampas grass is incredibly soft and fluffy but their leaves can be extremely sharp, so it’s not the best thing to plant next to your rope swing or tree house.

Away from birds. This one sounds pretty impossible, but if you get lots of birds in your garden, you might want to put some netting over the seeds to stop the birds eating them all.

When is the best time to plant pampas grass in the UK?

Because of pampas’ love of sunlight, it’s best to plant it in spring so that it can grow when the days are lighter and drier. We’d recommend April and May as good pampas planting months in the UK.

Step by step process for planting pampas grass seeds

Now you know when and where, how to plant pampas grass becomes very simple. It can be broken down into these three easy steps:

  1. Gently rake the soil you’re planting your pampas seeds in
  2. Make sure the sun is shining – you might as well give your pampas the best chance of growing well from the moment it hits the soil
  3. Sprinkle or place the pampas grass seeds onto the surface of the soil. You don’t need to cover them up – remember they love the sun so you’ll need the seeds to have access to direct sunlight to start to germinate
  4. Water your pampas grass seeds straight away – give them a thorough drink without drenching the area and make sure you do it slowly, so the seeds don’t wash away

How often to water freshly planted pampas grass

You’ll need to make sure the soil your pampas grass seeds are planted in stays moist for the first few weeks. The level of ‘moist’ we’re talking about is damp to the touch without feeling fully wet and definitely not drenched.

If it’s not particularly hot, the first watering could keep the soil sufficiently damp, but otherwise it shouldn’t do any harm to give the soil a sprinkle of water every few weeks especially as it gets into the warmer months. 

After the first few months, leave your pampas well alone and let rain do its job of watering your pampas naturally. Only go back to watering if the soil completely dries up for over a week, in extremely hot weather.

How long does pampas grass take to grow?

You should see pampas seeds’ seedlings start to show after around 2 weeks of being planted. If you’re a fan of fertiliser, you can fertilise your pampas grass every three months or so (avoiding Winter months) in its first year of growth, which should help to give it a boost.

How long does it take for pampas grass to flower/bloom?

It can take up to 3 years for pampas grass to bloom. During this time it will need pruning to make sure you get the healthiest, strongest pampas grass growing. To prune, cut away straggler roots or grass.

When is the best time to cut back pampas grass?

Fluffy pampas grass growingPampas grass should be cut back each year, so fresh pampas can grow again the following year. For this reason, pampas should be pruned in winter when it’s starting to get bedraggled and before new shoots start to arrive (and crave the sunshine).

It’s up to you which month you choose – February makes sense in order to make sure you’re getting the old pampas out of the way ready for the new shoots to get the best of the sunshine, but there’s nothing to say you can’t prune your older pampas heads before Christmas, especially if you want to dry them out and use them as wreaths!

How to trim or prune pampas grass

Follow these simple steps for perfect pampas pruning:

  • Dress for the occasion – pampas leaves are sharp and spiky, so long sleeves and gloves are recommended
  • Opt for loppers or secateurs over scissors. Pampas is strong!
  • Cut as far down to the root as you can
  • If there are rampant roots sprawling out into other directions, feel free to prune those back too – pampas will grow far and wild if you let it

How to transplant pampas grass

If you’re planting pampas grass from a pot or digging it up and re-planting it somewhere else, there are some simple steps to follow that will give your pampas every chance to survive and thrive.

  1. Make sure the hole you dig for your transplanted pampas is big enough to fit all of the pampas’ roots in without squashing them down. It’s important your pampas has the same amount of space as it did wherever it was planted before
  2. Add compost at the bottom of the hole, before adding your pampas. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fertilised compost or natural compost you’ve made out of old food and coffee grounds, either will give your pampas a nutritious boost to welcome it into its new home
  3. Gently separate the roots a little with your hands, to help them ‘find their feet’ in the hole. Gently press soil over the roots to cover them up
  4. Give your planted pampas a decent drink; thoroughly watering it without waterlogging it
  5. Keep watering your pampas every week to make sure the soil stays moist
  6. You’ll know the transplantation was successful when you see new shoots of pampas growing in its new home. At this point, you should stop watering it and let nature do its thing

Pampas maintenance shopping list

Things you’ll need when planting and maintaining your pampas, include:

  • Compost (if you don’t make your own)
  • Secateurs for pruning
  • A watering can or hose pipe
  • Thick gardening gloves

Help with planting pampas

If you have any questions about whether you’re doing the best thing for your pampas, you’re always welcome to ask us any questions. We like to think of ourselves as pampas pro’s but if there’s anything we don’t know, we’ll be very happy to help you find the answer.

About the author

Hannah loves sharing her knowledge about both the outside world and the interiors world, so that Meadow Made customers are as informed and entertained as possible. Find out more about Hannah.