What is Pampas Grass?
To quote the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Pampas grass, (Cortaderia selloana), tall reed-like grass of the family Poaceae, native to southern South America. Pampas grass is named for the Pampas plains, where it is endemic. It is cultivated as an ornamental in warm parts of the world and is considered an invasive species in some areas outside its native range, including New Zealand, South Africa, and the southwestern United States."
Pampas Grass Development
Many pampas grass cultivars have been developed by horticulturalists over the years, with some of these showing pink-white plumes, while others have silver-white plumes, variegated foliage or a dwarf growth habit. Once a main feature in many gardens in the 1970s, this grass had fallen out of favour until a resurgence around 2019 with the re-emergent trend of dried flowers giving it a new audience. Some parts of the UK even experienced influxes of 'pampas tourists', who would descend upon places that had it growing in the wild, and take it.
We don't recommend that, but we have put together a guide as to what types of pampas grass are available on the market to purchase legitimately and what similar products can be used to great effect!
Comparing pampas grass varieties
Whether you're looking for extra-tall, extra-fluffy pampas grass for grand displays, or petite, fluffy pampas grass stems to go in a small bouquet, there will be a fluffy, ornamental grass available for you and your creative vision. These pampas grass types are sold in their natural colour but you can find many dried pampas grass colours available for floristry work and home decor projects.
Cortaderia selloana ‘Aureolineata’
This variety of Pampas is known as a slow-growing and compact evergreen plant, but it can grow to more than 180cm tall with a good spread. It has slender, gold-striped leaves. The flowers that adorn the plant range from golden tan to white.
Cortaderia selloana ‘Aureolineata’
Very similar to gold band, the silver stripe variety exhibits silvery-white stripes on its leaves. It has feather-like, white flowers with a silver sheen.
Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila'
This popular variety is far more compact than its relatives, not usually exceeding 175cm in height. It is available in many different colours, from ivory and pink to pale yellow.
Cortaderia selloana ‘Sunningdale Silver’
This pinkish variety of pampas has delightful silvery flowers. It is less prone to clumping than some varieties and can grow over 3m tall!
Cortaderia selloana ‘Rosea’
This variety has rosy pink blooms that emanate from tightly clumped foliage. It grows to an average of 180cm tall.
Cortaderia selloana ‘Silver Fountain’
This variety has long, green, densely-packed leaves. Silver fountain is similar to silver stripe, producing large, silver flowers atop tall stems.
Cortaderia selloana ‘Splendid Star’
This dwarf variety of pampas is known to be hardy and perfect for container growing. The leaves are gold-streaked, and the stalks are covered in fluffy, white flowers.
Cortaderia selloana ‘Sun Stripe’
Great for borders, this variety has gold-striped leaves and silver-white flowers. It can grow over 2m tall, making it ideal for a garden windbreak.
Cortaderia selloana ‘Patagonia’
Patagonia produces grey-green foliage. The flowers are silver-white and sit atop stems of up to 2.5m.
Cortaderia selloana ‘Silver Comet’
Silver Comet is better known for its striking leaves rather than its flowers. The leaf edges feature white striations, with the plumes looking dull by comparison.
Cortaderia jubata ‘Andean Pampas Grass’
This species is similar to C.selloana, but at up to 7m it is far taller! It has long, thin, razor-edged leaves that form a large grass tussock. The flowers start off pink-purple and slowly turn cream in colour.
Saccharum Ravenna ‘Erianthus’
This species can grow over 3.5m tall and is not technically a pampas grass despite being called hardy pampas. It is sometimes called elephant grass or Ravenna grass. The flowers are silver-white, and the leaves will display a white stripe that eventually turns bronze in winter.
What can I do with dried pampas grass stems or other ornamental grasses?
We know your creativity knows no bounds when it comes to pampas - we are lucky enough to be tagged in many Instagram posts that show us your pampas weddings, pampas clouds, pampas door frames, and much, much more!
Versatile Pampas grass is ideal for making and creating a variety of things
- all-round wedding decor
- door frames and wreaths
- large displays requiring height and structure
- church or registry office decorations
- hanging clouds
- arches and circles
Take a look at our pampas-themed Pinterest boards to get some inspiration.
How to fluff up pampas grass
When you purchase pampas grass, it may well arrive in a box and look quite flat and unimpressive. The easiest way to get it looking voluminous and fluffy is to stand it up in a sturdy vase and pop it outside in a gentle breeze - as long as it's not raining! The air will allow the plumes to open up and return to their natural state. If you're short of time, use a hair dryer on its lowest setting to gently encourage the plume to fluff up. Leaving the plumes upright in a container until you need to use them will keep them looking great!
Are you ready to get creative?
Share your pampas and reed grass designs.
We hope you're feeling inspired to make something amazing with pampas or fluffy reed. Why not share your designs and makes with us on social media? There's nothing we like more than to be tagged on Instagram when you've made something beautiful using our products. If you would like to have your design or installation featured on our story, just get in touch! @atlasflowers View the Pampas Collection