How To Grow Stipa Tenuissma / Ponytail Grass

Stipa tenuissima or Ponytail grass is a perennial, clump-forming grass that grows gorgeous silver-green fluffy plumes! Once fully grown this long stemmed grass adds movement and texture to any planting scheme, particularly beautiful in gravel gardens! Here’s how I grow mine…

Stipa tenuissima Ponytail grass
Ponytail Grass 1st Year

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Ponytail Grass origins

Stipa tenuissima is a perennial grass species in the family Poaceae and has been known to be called Ponytail Grass, Mexican Feather Grass, Silky Thread grass, Texas Needle Grass and Angel Hair.
Ponytail grass has origins in Europe, Asia, New Zealand and the Americas. Their natural habitat is usually open woodlands, stony slopes and grasslands.

Ponytail Grass Characteristics

When fully Grown Ponytail grass can grow to heights of around 60-70cm. The first year (see above pic), a low mound is formed, from the second year onwards it really takes off!

This grass is semi-evergreen and forms, wispy, yellow-green leaves, topped off with fluffy plumes of silver-green flowers July-October, eventually maturing to blonde-buff.

Pony Tail Grass Planting ideas

Perfect for Containers, Perennial Borders, sunny gravel gardens and Cottage/Informal Garden schemes.

Try Planting ponytail Grass in drifts- alone or alongside Rudbeckia or Liatris Spicata. The great thing about ponytail grass is its light and airy nature , it will not dominate or swamp any neighbouring plants.

Does Stipa tenuissima self seed?

In some parts of the world Ponytail Grass is considered invasive, but here in the UK not so much! You may find the odd sprouts popping up in other parts of the garden but rest assured, it will not take over!

Do you have to cut back Ponytail Grass?

I dont bother to cut back Ponytail grass, instead I like to comb through the grass with my fingers and remove any old foliage around April or May, the old growth should come away easily to make room for fresh shoots.

How To Grow Ponytail Grass

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Buy Ponytail Grass Seeds


Can be sown indoors January-March

  • Sow seeds thinly on the surface of moist fluffy compost (do not cover with more than 5mm of soil as they need light to germinate)
  • Place on a warm windowsill and cover with a propogator lid or polythene bag until germination occurs. Germination can be erratic transpiring between 10-90 days…be patient :0)
  • Plant out in clumps once all risk of frost has passed. * Be sure to harden off indoor raised seedlings first

Stipa tenuissima Ponytail grass seedlings
Ponytail Grass Shoots

What Does Hardening Off Mean?
Plants raised indoors or in a greenhouse environment, need to be acclimatised to cooler temperatures and increased air movement for about two to three weeks before they are planted outdoors permanently. This is a ‘toughening up’ practice to prepare the plants for their new environment.

How to Harden Off
Place your plants out for a couple of hours in a shady part of the garden. The next day, leave them out again for two hours, but this time allow the plants an hour of direct sunshine in the morning. Gradually continue to increase the length of time the plants are in direct sunshine over the course of roughly two weeks.

Stipa tenuissima Ponytail grass
10 weeks after sowing

Stipa tenuissima Ponytail grass
Fluffy seed Heads arrive July-October


Ponytail Grass likes a full sun or partial shade position. Water regularly, more so during periods of drought.

Stipa tenuissima Ponytail grass

Should You Divide Ponytail Grass?

Divide Ponytail grass every two to three years in late winter or early spring before new growth emerges. To divide simply dig up the grass clump, split in 2 or 3 with the edge of a spade and replant.




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