Asked on Aug 18, 2012

How Fast does Pampas Grass (Beach Grass) Grow?

Jim Ginas
by Jim Ginas

Does it grow fast from seed, should I buy small plants or full grown? - Rationale is I don;t need it for this year's pool season (OVER in 4 weeks!), but would be nice to have growing next year! Any tips on how to care for pampas grass, too?

Note Fence on Right. You can see thru it from the Road.
Note Fence on Left. You can see thru it from the Road.
From backyard view to front. People walking by can see you in the backyard and pool.
  30 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Aug 18, 2012
    If you want it to screen the fenced area by next pool season, you would probably be happiest with something like a 3 gallon size plant.
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Aug 18, 2012
    thank you...... we were looking tonight. best to buy and plant in fall? or is it too late now, and I should wait till Spring?
  • Angela A Angela A on Aug 18, 2012
    Fall is a good time for planting, it gives your plants times to recover from any shock they experience from being planted, and they don't have to struggle through the heat at the same time....then come next spring they should be happy, healthy and ready to grow, grow, grow! Good luck! :-)
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Aug 18, 2012
    ok, good. Thanks Angela. Works for me, not so hot lug these around, especially for digging holes!
  • Angela A Angela A on Aug 18, 2012
    Yes, thats a BIG plus as well. Easier on the plant, and the gardener! lol Check out have a section for outdoor projects, including has some good tips...
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 19, 2012
    Could I convince you to plant something else, Jim? Pampas grass is notoriously invasive and really wants to grow to a size that dwarfs most home landscapes. Also, the sharp leaves are likely to slice you to ribbons when you try to keep that size in check. How about one of the beautiful Panicums instead? Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire' turns dazzling shades of red in early summer then a buttery yellow in the fall. Panicum amarum "Dewey Blue," is a gorgeous steel blue. Or how about an Indian grass like Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel'?
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    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on May 05, 2017

      Appreciate your reply! We've decided not to do these.

  • Becky H Becky H on Aug 19, 2012
    Wow! I am so glad Douglas responded! I've grown pampas grass, and I would have advised the same (from the experience), but it's better for you to hear it from a professional.
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Aug 19, 2012
    absolutely Doug! thanks much. early fall planting for these good, or wait till spring?
  • Angela A Angela A on Aug 19, 2012
    I agree with Becky and Douglas...sorry Jim, thought you knew what you were "getting into" with the Pampas grass....didnt mean to lead you astray so to speak...
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Aug 19, 2012
    Hi Angela. No worries, I don't have a CLUE when it comes to gardening things. I count on your all to keep me straight. (Doug keeps me straight!) We've seen it in a few places and it looks good, definitely would block the view to the backyard and has nice plumes (I think they are called plumes, right?)
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Aug 19, 2012
    Douglas Hunt & Becky H, I wouldn't answer this question because I thought it was just ME. Now I know I was right because my neighbor planted it and also removed it.
  • Angela A Angela A on Aug 19, 2012
    it can be nice to look someone ELSE'S yard LOL! But yeh, if you planted it, had it a few years and decided you wanted to take it out, you would have a time trying to get rid of almost can't....Miscanthus Gracillimus is another grass you might want to check out...should grow fine in your area, grows about 6 foot tall, 2-3 foot spread and is the color of the pampas grass, but the blades arent prickly like the pampass grass....the plus is, instead of needing a chainsaw to cut it, you can use hedge trimmers! LOL (I say LOL, but I'm serious)
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Aug 19, 2012
    great! works for me! I'm heading to Smithfield Gardens next weekend. (Miscanthus Gracillimus , Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Fire' and Panicum amarum "Dewey Blue").
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 20, 2012
    I'm sure the folks at Smithfield can help you come up with a good mix of alternatives to pampas, Jim. And you'll soon be in prime time for planting.
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Aug 20, 2012
    as always, thanks!
  • Barbara Valenti Barbara Valenti on Oct 05, 2014
    You know, I cant see all the post but I dont know if anyone told you that pampass grass is snake grass! Yep! Beware, I told you. Yes I had some pampass grass and yes there was asnake in it and I do not have that anymore!!!!! The End.....
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    • Tommi L. Perkins Tommi L. Perkins on Apr 04, 2016
      If you think your house looks big now wait until you continue the sides out with a brick fence. It gets pretty impressive. Now matching the bricks! And of course it might look off balance unless you do some on the other side of the house.
  • Pamela Knott Pamela Knott on Oct 07, 2014
    Our neighbor has lots of pampas grass and it doesn't seem to get tall enough to block anything until mid or late summer. But that's here in the Midwest.
  • Sissie Owsley Buteux Sissie Owsley Buteux on Nov 10, 2014
    It is horrible. It was in our when we bought our house. It hollows out in the middle as it grows further and further out. Impossible to dig up. My husband cut it this year with a power saw and just keeps mowing over it. If you like grasses - pick something else.
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Nov 26, 2014
      @Sissie Owsley Buteux Thank you for the note Sissie! I'm definitely going with a Brick Fence!
  • Irene Irene on Aug 01, 2015
    We have pampas grass everywhere. It was here when we moved here about 4 1/2 yrs. ago. It reseeds and goes everywhere. It can be very invasive. We've been cutting, using Roundup, and digging it out and can't get ahead of it. Our neighbors probably hate us for having this horrible plant that pushes other plants out. Think we only had 2 or 3 to start and now we are battling it constantly and we still have dozens to go. Do yourself a favor and choose something else.
    • Tommi L. Perkins Tommi L. Perkins on Apr 04, 2016
      @Irene Are you sure that you do not have bamboo. My pampas grass is not invasive and does not come up anywhere else. The clump only gets bigger around. I think you have bamboo. Pretty but a scourge for sure!
  • Tommi L. Perkins Tommi L. Perkins on Apr 04, 2016
    I have pampas grass and it needs to be cut to the ground no later than March 1 in the upper south. You want to cut it down before the new green shoots start emerging.. If you see them you have to cut slightly higher than the new growth. Being late cutting will cause it to die in the middle as the sun cannot get to the new growth in the middle because of the growth you left. So it is important to cut it before the new growth starts. When it gets big (there are many, many varieties which are of all different heights and sizes) as it looks like you are wanting something that gets large enough by the time swimming season gets going it should provide some shield for the pool but not as much as perhaps a wooden screen with vines on it would. Don't plant that pampas grass too close to the fence. It will be difficult to mow around the fence.
  • Irene Irene on Apr 05, 2016
    We have both THANK YOU to previous owners. Pampas grass is the worst where we are in So. Cal. It's even worse than bamboo.
  • Elf7309285 Elf7309285 on Jul 14, 2016
    Bamboo is very pretty but must be planted in huge plastic containers. That way it stays where you want it to be. I would not recommend pampas as I too ,find it a mess. there is such a huge variety in fences nowadays . Search long and good before you decide and buy
  • Jane wild Jane wild on Sep 18, 2016
    Years ago, I bought gallon size pots of pampas grass, divided each clump, and planted them about three ft apart along an area we needed help stopping erosion. They grew into 8ft tall, 2ft wide whoppers in about three years. We sold that house and moved to another state due to a job change. Eventually we moved back to our town and I drove by our old house. That grass was 15 ft tall and had totally filled in the space between that house and a neighbors!!! So it can be just a bit invasive!! Lol
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Sep 18, 2016
      so question, I read here that it can be so invasive and hard to control. I was hoping it would grow , big plumbs, then end of season, cut it to the ground and the following year would not be growing out into my grass... but understand this grass grows like bulbs, where they spread.... ?? Is that what you see? How do you control where it grows not to grow where you don't want it to?
  • Tommi L. Perkins Tommi L. Perkins on Sep 19, 2016
    Mine has not spread like you are talking about. Mine gets about 6 ft tall max. and the clump does get bigger but it has not "run". However, I do not live in the deep south, California or Florida where maybe a very long growing season has some impact on the spread. I it were me and I did not want it to spread, I would get some HUGE plastic planters (at least 4 to 5 feet X 4 to 5 feet and at least 3-4 ft deep, black color only). Sink those in the ground in a row, end to end, maybe a hand mowers length apart or even closer if you can figure out how to mow the grass between them. The top edge should be a little above the ground so grass won;t grow in it. OR you could make a long bed, take out the grass, sink the pots into it and put landscape fabric down and put a heavy layer of either mulch or river rock around it so grass won;t even grow around the grass. Do your research on the type of pampas grass you want (there are many, many types), what is best for your area and what it will look like in your yard. Be aware that no all nurseries sell what is best for your area. Figure out what you want, consult a landscape architect, talk to your local nurseries and buy what is best for you. Don't go to your local home centers and buy little 6 inch starter plants. Good nurseries should be able to obtain what you want, in the number you want and in a size that will give you some coverage the FIRST year. Don't cheap it on the plants.
  • L. Criswell L. Criswell on Sep 19, 2016
    Pampas grass begins to take over quickly. The center dies out, even when you cut it back yearly. It is VERY difficult to get rid of! There are much better choices.
  • L. Criswell L. Criswell on Sep 20, 2016
    You WILL be sorry if you plant pampas grass. Consider some attractive evergreen shrubs and plant them in a zigzag fashion: camellia sasanqua azalea holly (thornless) gardenia rhododendron pittorporum photinia get TOO large (30') oleander osmanthus mountain laurel Japan cleyera holly abelia Euonymous (showstopper; FIREY red in Autumn) If you have a long area, consoder planting 3 to 5 of one plant, alternating with 3 to 5 of a second plant: perhaps one with seasonal blooms and one with showy foliage. Enjoy the process!
  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Sep 20, 2016
    very good! thank you!
  • Robin Lewis Robin Lewis on Mar 29, 2019

    Wow, I'm so disappointed. I've already bought my pampas seeds. I think I'll toss them in the field accross the street. It's vacant and maybe they'll grow and I can still enjoy the beauty...

  • Becky Becky on Apr 18, 2020

    I think Pampas grass is beautiful! Especially when they come in all the different colors of plumes! Im planting some from seeds! It all depends on how much room you have. I have 2.8 acres and want invasive plants to be a barrier to the very busy road in from of my house and on the side! That is exactly why i got them! But if you are in a sub-division i can see that would be different!

  • Michelle Michelle on May 16, 2020

    I wish I would of read this a week ago. Just planted the pompas grass for our back yard by a road and sidewalk because we are getting a pool. It's about 6 ft away from the sidewalk. My question is how fast does the grass grow in a season from a 2 ft tall plant? I'm getting nervous...