Gulf Coast Muhly Grass

Photo Credit: Randy Lemmon
Gulf Coast Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

We’ve had some really harsh extremes weather-wise in the past two decades – especially since the Freeze of February 2021 through the June Drought of 2022.  It’s been tough on plants.  And yet, there are several plants that have survived and rebounded and showed off every single year.  I give you the Gulf Coast Muhly, landscape grass!!!

Muhlbergia is a variety of ornamental grass with spectacular showgirl flair.  Personally, I think this is the toughest of the tough native perennial grasses.

I love its large, airy seed heads that grow about half as tall as the entire plant.  The spikelets (flowers) are purple, and they take on a feathery, deep-pink hue in the fall, which is why you’ll also find them listed as Red Crystals.

They only grow in clumps, with the plant 2-3 feet tall, and the wispy, feathery spikelets reaching up another 1-2 feet above the clump.

When planted en masse, nothing else adds such a graceful, soft movement in the wind, which is why they are often planted in grand numbers in open meadows.  Nevertheless, they are a perfect addition to an island landscape or perennial bed, planted singularly or in groups.

I’m particularly fond of the version we call Red Crystals. From summer through fall, there’s nothing else like it when it’s in bloom.

Read more at Gardening Know How: What Is Muhly Grass: Tips For Growing Muhly Grass