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A Floridata Plant Profile #819 Muhlenbergia lindheimeri
Common Names: Lindheimer's muhlygrass, blue muhlygrass
Family: Poaceae/Gramineae (grass Family)
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Grass  Perennial  Drought Tolerant Has Unusual or Interesting Foliage

Lindheimer's muhly grass
Lindheimer's muhly grass is a beautiful and well-mannered ornamental grass that counts drought tolerance among its many talents.
Lindheimer's muhly grass has bluish gray foliage that grows in a clump 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m) wide and 1-2 ft (0.3-0.6 m) tall. The flowering spikes stand well above the arching foliage, up to 5 ft (1.5 m) tall, in fact. They appear in early fall, starting out purplish, then aging to gray and persisting through most of the winter. The dense clumps of flowering spikes produce an airy, fluffy look. 'Lenli' and 'Regal Mist' have yellowish flower spikes. 'Autumn Glow' is a popular cultivar with a reddish inflorescence.

Lindheimer's muhly grass is native to dry prairies and rocky slopes in Texas and northern Mexico.

Tolerant of drought and high summer temperatures, Lindheimer's muhly grass is a strong performer. Once established, it needs no care.
Light: Full sun.
Moisture: Lindheimer's muhly grass is highly drought tolerant and tolerant of arid conditions, but it does well in the humid SE U.S., too. It can even tolerate occasional wet soils.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 - 11.
Propagation: Propagate muhly grasses by seed or by dividing the root mass in the dormant season.

muhly grass flower spikes
Muhly grass flower spikes appear in early fall and persist throughout the winter.
Use muhly grass in borders and perennial gardens where a fine-textured foliage is desired to accent bolder specimens. Massed, muhlys make excellent groundcover for areas with poor, sandy soils. Lindheimer's muhly is an excellent substitute for pampas grass - it's more cold hardy and the leaves do not cut. Other muhly grasses are tolerant of salt spray and Lindheimer's may be as well. The muhly grasses are recommended for road shoulders and medians.

Because of their drought tolerance and wide adaptability, the several species of muhly grasses native to the U.S. and Mexico are becoming increasingly attractive to water conscious gardeners. Gulf muhly (M. capillaris) is the most widespread and one of the most popular. Lindheimer's muhly is one of the largest species and gardeners are fast coming to appreciate its charms.

Steve Christman 10/11/00; updated 9/14/03

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