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Life After Lawn: Little Kitten looks soft, cuddly

Japanese silver grass needs twice-monthly deep irrigation in the summer, and only an annual mowing.
Japanese silver grass needs twice-monthly deep irrigation in the summer, and only an annual mowing.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Life After Lawn” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and ideal for drought-tolerant landscapes.

‘Little Kitten’ dwarf Japanese silver grass

Miscanthus sinensis “Little Kitten”

Size: Up to 3 feet tall and wide; will spread slowly over time.

Bloom season: Attractive metallic “fingers” of branched flowers in summer and fall.

Exposure: Grows in full sun or part shade.

Pruning needs: Cut flush to the ground in winter to renew foliage.

Water needs: Low water; once established, irrigate deeply once or twice a month.

Snapshot: Grow a grass you’d like to pet. Tame in city landscapes, Little Kitten is a dwarf variety of Japanese silver grass that’s suitable for the smaller size of our urban gardens. A tough and dependable cultivar, it produces ornamental, branched flower spikes in summer and fall that glitter when back-lit by the sun. Despite being native to climates with summer rain, Sacramento gardeners have found it to be adaptable to low irrigation. Another plus: This grass only needs mowing once a year.

For more on “Life After Lawn,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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