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Miscanthus sinensis Red Chief - Pruning

CatDouchCatDouch Posts: 199
Hi, this is my first post as I’m quite new to gardening am I’m finding some advice I read too general for my knowledge so I’m here for some help!!  Last autumn I ‘designed’ a raised gravel garden and researched what plants would be suitable and planted them in the autumn.  So far so good I think, however some pruning advice gets me a tad confused ...... firstly, when it states cutback in spring, I then need to ask ‘when is spring?’ Is it February, March, beginning or the end of the month??  I wish they would say ‘prune on 15th March and then I’d know 🧐😂  I really want to look after my plants and not mess it up.  Advice states to cut dead foliage/flower heads  etc from Miscanthus Sinensis Red Chief in the spring, but the foliage looks so lovely at the moment blowing in the wind and giving some interest.  What would happen if I didn’t cut it back?  Help and advice would be much appreciated, thank you.
South Devon 


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,048
    edited February 2021
    Things to do with gardens and plants are often a bit inexact. Any time from around February until the grass starts to produce fresh growth (probably from the end of March?) is fine.

    You could get away with earlier than this e.g. January but the theory is that the top growth protects the crowns of the plant during the worst of the winter weather. I'm not sure that's relevant for tough, hardy Miscanthus sinensis though. But it makes sense to enjoy the winter silhouettes as long as you can.

    You could leave it a bit later but if it's started to grow you'll cut through the new shoots - although it will still carry on growing and be fine.

    If you want to do it on March 15th that sounds OK. Best to shear right down to the ground to avoid a build-up of dead stems.

    This is probably a good clip to watch for your first time cutting them back.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,165
    Hello  :)
    Most Miscanthus tend to look pretty tatty by the beginning of March and you may well find that after the windy weather of the next few days they will be looking past their best.
    If you leave it too late to cut back then the new growth starts coming through and when you do cut it, you damage the new growth.
    Miscanthus is one of those plants that you have to "bite the bullet" with and cut back even when it's still looking pretty good.
    I know what you mean about the vagueness of "Early Spring" etc, as the weather can vary so much from year to year. Sometimes it's a case of looking at the forecast and choosing the moment. 
    You'll find plenty of advice on here regarding any plants that you have. 
  • OmoriOmori Posts: 1,660
    I've just cut mine back as the new growth is starting to come up, I probably should have done this a bit earlier. 
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,048
    It's a good idea to plant bulbs and primroses between/around Miscanthus, so you have something pretty to look at when they've been cut down - and the cutting back of them then becomes something a bit more positive.
  • CatDouchCatDouch Posts: 199
    Thank you everyone for your comments and advice, I shall tackle it today I think 😀
    South Devon 
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