pampas grass

i have always loved pampas grass, ever since i first noticed it all over the property at the parker palm springs. in fact, a few years ago when we were doing our backyard, i couldn’t figure out the name and we went on a wild goose chase trying to track down what they were called. i think i may have even called the hotel to ask like a total dork.

we ended up finally finding out they were called cortaderia and planted one in the back corner… we actually asked if had room for two and the nursery was like UM NO, DO NOT PLANT MORE THAN ONE OF THESE. they were right, they grow like weeds. ours is like 12x the size of when we planted it. it is super invasive, and every time i’ve ever brushed by it i get all scratched up and covered in a rash, so we have to keep it trimmed short, but oh man it’s pretty and it covered a total eyesore of a corner too. 

anyway, i get asked about the plumes all the time because i have trimmed our plant and keep them inside as decoration now, since they’re the only “plants” that i can’t kill. my instagram florist friend/pampas enthusiast fleur de rye advised me to spray with hairspray to keep them from shedding, and it has totally worked, so now i keep them in vases in the house and the cats/baby don’t even really mess with them much. i’m not sure where you can buy the plumes in person, but i checked etsy and it looks like there are a lot. (just make sure you’re buying dried plumes and not seeds lol)

if you drive on any freeway in LA you will pretty much see them everywhere, but now i see them everywhere on pinterest too, and i get asked about them every time i post on instagram, people asking what it is and where i got it. i also get lots of messages when i post that they are invasive plants, which means they displace native plants and create habitats that are lower in biodiversity and basically they’re sort of a big problem and shouldn’t really be planted at all, but enough with the science lesson, they are obviously trendy AF.

so this concludes a post i can refer people to if i get asked about my pampas grass. hope you learned a ton!

image sources : one unknown / two / threefour / five / six / seven

i rounded up some buyable options for you, the first one is a faux stem i love!!

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  1. It’s like you read my mind because I’ve spent the last five days trying to figure out what “those fuzzy plants that all the cool kids have in their homes” are called and where I can get them.

  2. Pampas is gorgeous, but they grow like a weed and are super invasive because they ARE INDEED an non-native invasive weed. California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife recommends planting giant wildrye instead.

  3. When you say spray with hairspray. Does it need to be aerosol?

    1. Molly Madfis says:

      i don’t think so 🙂

  4. I’m glad you mentioned they’re invasive! I had friends who planted them bc they thought that pampas looked cool, but then cursed themselves after because it’s so freaking sharp that dealing with it is a PITA. (They no longer grow it, killing it til it was dead was a Thing.)

    BTW, a hot tip from me to you– if you want to refresh your clump once it gets ratty looking, pick a cold day and suit up in the thickest denim you can find, long pants and sleeves, make sure your neck is covered, put on gloves, wear eye protection and a hat, and then use a sawzall with a long fire & rescue blade to cut the clump right to the ground. Use a pickaxe or something to rake/pull out the dead parts (the center usually dies after a while & won’t fill back in til it has space to do so). I don’t know what materials pickup is like in your neighborhood, but in Austin, you can just bundle in 5′ lengths with twine & put on the curb & the city will pick it up.

  5. I love these ! Since you said that you can spray hairspray on them do you think they can be spray painted gold? I have a crazy idea but don’t want to ruin them or create more fallout