Fakahatchee Grass (tripsacum dactyloides), alternately also referred to as Eastern Gamagrass, is an extremely popular Florida native ornamental grass. This grass is evergreen in sub-tropical areas and has bright green blades with a serrated edge. They grow in rounded clumps reaching 5-6 feet in height and 4-6 feet wide in Florida. There is also a Dwarf Fakahatchee Grass (Tripsacum floridanum) which can reach heights of around three feet.
Fakahatchee Grass can complement the home landscape in a variety of situations to soften harsh areas under tall palm trees, or as background for shrubs and even in a pot. This ornamental grass can also be found growing along pond banks, swamps and other wet sites throughout Florida.
Fakahatchee Grass Plant Characteristics
Fakahatchee Grass does well in sun and light shade and does well in dry to partially wet soil. It can tolerate standing water if it drains relatively quickly. It has a medium salt tolerance, which makes it ideal for the Florida environment. Its preferred soil pH range is between 5.1-7.5. The planting season for stratified seed is spring and winter for non-stratified seeds. The dense and bunching growth pattern of this grass provides coverage for small wildlife.
Growing And Maintenance Tips For Fakahatchee Grass
This plant is available in local nurseries and can easily be propagated by seeds and division. To establish Fakahatchee Grass, plant into a well prepared and clean tilled weed-free seed bed. It grows easily when planted in full sun or light shade.
Plant spacing for your new plantings is important to allow enough room for growth. Space grasses as far apart so that they can become tall. Provide at least an inch of water every week, until the plant is well established.
In early summer, the stems flower to produce a crop of jointed seeds. The lush growth leads to large clumps that die out in the center, so occasionally cutting back to the ground or division is necessary. And for propagation consider dividing grasses every three or four years in spring, just as they are beginning to break dormancy. You can dig the plant up and cut the clump into divisions with a knife or spade and replant the new divisions as a container grown plant. This will help the grasses root and renew.
Fakahatchee Grass is easy to grow, maintain and propagate. You can create a landscape of rich green foliage in your back yard with this ornamental grass. Sit back and watch as the clumps of Fakahatchee Grass in your garden sways in the light breeze. It is a larval plant for checker skipper butterfly and songbird will use the segmented seeds as a food source.
To try out this great beginner plant, visit our nursery at Wilcox Nursery And Landscape in Largo, FL 33774. You can also reach us on 727-219-9549.