Okay, you were probably thinking that I meant the ‘other’ type of grass.  But the type of grass I am referring to cannot be smoked, (at least I don’t think it can).  ‘Regal Mist’ (Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’), is a beautiful ornamental grass to include in your landscape.  It is low-maintenance, thrives almost anywhere and has stunning burgundy foliage in late summer and early fall.

 

USES:  This Texas native looks best when planted in groups of at least 3, but I think groups of 5 or 7 are better.  This ornamental grass grows to approximately 3 ft. High and wide.  However, when flowering, add 1 – 2 ft. to their total height.  They can be planted in full sun, areas with reflected heat and even in areas with partial shade.  

 
 

This ornamental grass is tolerant of most soils.  Regal Mist is a great choice for planting around pools, boulders and in front of walls.  I have planted them around golf courses, and many people would ask me, “What is that plant?  It is beautiful.”  It is evergreen in areas with mild winters, but it is hardy to -10 degrees F (Zone 6).  Frost will turn them light tan in color. 

 
Regal Mist when not in flower

MAINTENANCE:  You can hardly get more low-maintenance then this – prune back severely in the winter, almost to the ground, to remove old foliage and spent flowers.  I do not fertilize Regal Mist, and they look just great.  Although drought tolerant once established, supplemental water is necessary for them is needed for them to look their best and to flower.  Self-seeding is not usually a problem when they are irrigated with drip-irrigation.

 

So, for those of you who are frequently asking me for a beautiful, low-maintenance plant – this is it.  Include a few in your garden, and I promise you will have people asking you, “What is that beautiful grass?”
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

24 replies
  1. Rosey Pollen
    Rosey Pollen says:

    I would love to try this grass, but it is not hardy enough for me. I guess it needs AZ winter temps. I am amazed at the variety of grasses there are available to grow now. This Regal Mist is simply amazing, glad you shared info about it.
    Rosey

    Reply
  2. janie
    janie says:

    Yes, I recognize that grass. I can't believe it wouldn't be hardy enough for Rosey, tho. It is grown on the side of the highways here.

    Another is the pink muhley. It is gorgeous.

    Have you ever grown buffalo grass, Noelle?

    Just wondering.

    Reply
  3. tina
    tina says:

    Love the muhly. I added a small 4" pot to my sun deprived garden here in Tennessee and that muhly is blooming! Blooming nicely too though it is small. I think the big groups and single plantings look best like you do.

    I was wondering what AZPlantLady stands for and now I know-Arizona! You have a fine blog that covers a niche area of gardening. I've been to the desert a few times and I tell you I don't know how desert gardeners can make the gardens so beautiful but they are really quite lovely when planned properly. I'd probably never get it though having lived in areas where rainfall is plentiful but if I did I'd be looking for a blog like this one. It is so helpful. I also enjoyed the post on the trees and of course the 'cupcakes'. I am surprised to see southwestern gardeners top their trees too. Such a bad practice.

    Reply
  4. Rose
    Rose says:

    I have fallen in love with this grass ever since first seeing it on Frances' Fairegarden blog. It truly is beautiful. Unfortunately, it's not hardy in my zone 5 garden, but maybe plant breeders will come up with a hardy variety one of these days. It looks gorgeous with Arizona cacti and agaves.

    Reply
  5. fairegarden
    fairegarden says:

    Hi Noelle, thanks for giving more information on this wonderful grass. It should definitely be more widely planted. We can grow it here on my sloping property in zone 7a. I failed to grow it at our other TN house in zone 6 however. It might have been too wet there. Because it loves sand and gravel, I would recommend those elements be added to the planting hole if one does not enjoy natural sandy soil.
    Frances

    Reply
  6. Nell Jean
    Nell Jean says:

    Beautiful displays, thank you.

    Someone brought me 5 native Gulf Muhly, I was so tickled! My other grasses are Vetiver and Lemon Grass. I've been stubborn about turning to grass, except in the meadows.

    Reply
  7. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    What beautiful photos! I love the grasses. I have a few grasses in my yard – but nothing as beautiful as your pictures. Thanks for sharing. Michelle "Mich's West Coast Journal"

    Reply
  8. The Violet Fern
    The Violet Fern says:

    I love grass! Ornamental, too. Just kidding. What beautiful photos! I know most of these are not hardy my way but there are so many to choose from. I try to incorporate at least one grass in each of my beds – but I really love big drifts of them!

    Reply
  9. calann621
    calann621 says:

    These pinks remind me of mimosa. And I adore that tree. We had them in the yard in Alabama when I was growing up. They were wonderful, low to the ground branches, perfect for climbing. I spent hours perched in those mimosas. I'd love to have one now. Wait, this post is about grasses!

    Reply
  10. arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
    arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

    Hi Leo,

    I can speak to watering frequency in the low desert – zone 9.

    Once a week in summer, twice a month in spring and fall and once a month in winter. *Be sure to water to a depth of 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep each time.

    Good Luck!
    Noelle 'azplantlady'

    Reply

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