Plant of the week: Muhlenbergia capillaris aka Hair Grass, Pink Muhly Grass

Plant Favs from Terri

Gardeners who find themselves transplanted to our Zone 10 conditions will often lament the lack of seasons in our climate.  At no time of the year does the constant verdant green of our landscape evoke more homesickness than in autumn.  No, we don’t have the symphony of leaf color that is emblematic of the traditional harvest season, but that is because our flora is not on the verge of a snow crusted slumber!  Instead we are simply shifting seasons. If you pay attention, you will begin to recognize the not-so-subtle signs that our landscapes are responding to shortening days, cooler evenings and eventually lower humidity.  While we may have to train our senses to pick up on these changes, the Florida native grasses and wild flowers are completely attuned to this environment which respond in bloom, providing us with a uniquely “Floridana” version of fall color, and October is the perfect month to appreciate this show.

Plant of the week Muhlenbergia capillaris aka Hair Grass, Pink Muhly Grass 


The large pink clouds of Muhlenbergia capillaris is possibly one of the most difficult to miss signs that Fall has arrived.  Thankfully, due to its reliable garden performance in any number of challenging situations, Pink Muhly is widely used in public  green scapes.


A few truly notable places to locate these plantings in our area are:

The drifts planted at Indian Riverside Park, Jensen Beach  

The median plantings along Monterey Road  in Stuart between East Ocean Blvdand A1A where clumps of Muhlenbergia capillaris are the backdrop for another native grass, Elliot’s Love Grass whose sweet blooms follow those of the Muhly

The beautiful brand new plantings at the Audubon Society on the corner of 10th andPalm Beach Road in Stuart

(why not park and ramble this lovely garden-a hidden gem)

Finally the scraggly clump at the end of my drive, growing in sand without irrigation 😉  tolerating the indiscriminate trampling of garbage men and included here selfishly because this one is my personal cue to watch for the return of the Blackbird to my garden.

For more about the cultivation particulars of Hair Grass, I would refer you to this document from The U of F Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

However the question remains: Why is it that while blooming wildflowers in Florida offer a sensory cue for us to shift season as recognizable as falling leaves it still fails to evoke the heartfelt emotions of the Harvest Season? I suggest it is because our Florida Fall flora lack story.  It is history, legend and tradition that you are homesick for.  Many of us are recent Floridians… transplanted Gardeners just trying to make sense of it all.  Story adds the context that make Florida Traditions our own, and not just a fleeting vacation romance. Subscribe to my RSS feed (blog) to learn the story that will help you establish roots here in your Florida Garden.

Make sure to come in to our shop to learn more about how you can incorporate Pink Muhly Grass into your Garden Bliss. We offer FREE consults on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, call for details 772-781-8085