Tiger Grass

Tiger Grass plant

Tiger Grass

This striking plant from Thailand looks like bamboo but it’s actually a perennial grass. In Asia the large leaves are used to wrap food for steaming, and the flower heads are tied together and used as brooms.

Plant details

Common name: Tiger Grass
Botanic name: Thysanolaena maxima
Description: Perennial grass with stout culms to 3 metres (10′) tall, lance shaped leaves and fine plumes of purple flowers. It forms dense clumps and can be propagated by either seed or division.
Best climate: Tiger grass will grow in most areas of Australia, except for Hobart and the cold mountain zones. It is frost sensitive.

Best look:

  • attractive feature or screen plant
  • Thai or Balinese style garden
  • tropical garden
  • large pots

Good points:

  • handsome foliage
  • beautiful purple flowers
  • good non-weedy substitute for bamboo
  • tolerant of neglect

Downside:

Be aware that tiger grass grows faster than most garden shrubs and will form a large clump (a 4 year-old clump can measure up to 1 metre (3′) at the base).

Care:

This plant will grow well in either full sun or part shade. It likes moist soils rich in organic matter, ample water and protection from frost.

Getting started:

Tiger grass is not readily available at nurseries, but you may like to try: Bamboo World (where we filmed our segment)
Murwillumbah Road
Wadeville via Kyogle, NSW, 2474.
Phone: (02) 6689 7214
Email: bamboo@nrg.com.au
Website: www.nrg.com.au/bamboo
Plants are available by mail order. Expect to pay $35 for a 200mm (8″) pot. Earthcare Enterprises
PO Box 500
Maleny, QLD, 4552.
Phone: (07) 5494 4666
Email: sales@earthcare.com.au
Website: www.earthcare.com.au
Bare rooted plants are available by mail order for $25 each, or you can visit the nursery by appointment.

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