The Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ (Porcupine Grass) Full Care Guide


The Porcupine Grass, otherwise known as the Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ or Maiden Grass ‘Strictus’, Eulalia ‘Strictus’, Chinese Silver Grass ‘Strictus’, Japanese Silver Grass ‘Strictus’, Porcupine Grass, is a rather well known ornamental grass plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this ornamental grass will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Porcupine Grass Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Porcupine Grass are the following:

  • Water: The Porcupine Grass wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.
  • Light: Keep your Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Porcupine Grass in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Porcupine Grass will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Porcupine Grass belongs to the Poaceae family, the genus Miscanthus and the species Sinensis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ (miss-KANTH-us sy-NEN-sis).

As with other Miscanthus’s, the Porcupine Grass is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ is native to China, Korea and Japan.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Porcupine Grass. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Porcupine Grass is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, how big does the Porcupine Grass actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ can grow up to 6′ – 8′ (180cm – 240cm) in 6′ – 8′ (180cm – 240cm) and 3′ – 5′ (90cm – 150cm) in 3′ – 5′ (90cm – 150cm). 

These dimensions make the Porcupine Grass a relatively large ornamental grass compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful narrow shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 48″ – 72″ (120cm – 180cm) free so the Porcupine Grass can spread to its best extent.

Watering

In terms of watering, the Porcupine Grass is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ wants regular watering to enhance fruit production, but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Porcupine Grass in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Porcupine Grass then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Porcupine Grass needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Porcupine Grass prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Porcupine Grass requires soil with clay, loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Porcupine Grass requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this ornamental grass will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being a herbaceous plant, the Porcupine Grass will die back to the ground every year. But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the summer (late), the fall, and during the winter.

Flowers

You can expect your Porcupine Grass to flower around the summer and in the fall months from July to September (summer), and from October to December (fall).

The Porcupine Grass produces some beautiful red, or gold/yellow and burgundy flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Porcupine Grass have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ to be around (> 6 inches) in size.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Porcupine Grass is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for salt and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ will be fine.

Garden

Now, let’s talk garden and how your Porcupine Grass will look best in it.

Most Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Strictus’ owners agree that this ornamental grass will look great in most contemporary, asian/zen and rustic gardens of all types. Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of coastal garden, modern garden, city and courtyard, informal and cottage, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Porcupine Grass’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in hedges and screens, others use it for landscaping in a cutting garden, border, specimen, coastal exposure, mass planting, or a wildlife garden.

Companion Plants

The Porcupine Grass does well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Juniperus, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Aster will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Porcupine Grass, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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