The Complete Guide for Bulbous Oat Grass (Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’) Care

The Bulbous Oat Grass, otherwise known as the Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ or Tarragon, Biting Dragon, Dragon Plant, Estragon, French Tarragon, True Tarragon, is a rather well known herb plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

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

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Bulbous Oat Grass Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

In order to take proper care of your Bulbous Oat Grass you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Bulbous Oat Grass needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.
  • Light: Keep your Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Bulbous Oat Grass in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand and loam.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Bulbous Oat Grass this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Bulbous Oat Grass close

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Bulbous Oat Grass belongs to the Asteraceae family, the genus Artemisia and the species Dracunculus, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ (a-ren-AH-ther-um ee-LAH-tee-us bul-BOH-sum var-ee-GAY-tum).

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

Growing Region

The Bulbous Oat Grass is a plant native to the Temp. Northern Hemisphere to Trop and Mountains.

You might be wondering why your Bulbous Oat Grass’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 7 region, and in climate zones that range between 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A1, A2, A3.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Bulbous Oat Grass is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.


But, what size of Bulbous Oat Grass are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

The Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ can grow up to 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm). 

These dimensions make the Bulbous Oat Grass a relatively medium herb 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.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 18″ – 24″ (45cm – 60cm) free so the Bulbous Oat Grass can spread to its best extent.


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

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

Specifically, most experts agree that the Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

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

Bulbous Oat Grass care


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

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Bulbous Oat Grass is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

The Bulbous Oat Grass’s ideal soil potting mix is made out of sand and loam.

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

Light and Exposure

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

Most experts agree that this herb 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 Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a herbaceous plant, the Bulbous Oat Grass will die back to the ground every year. 

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


The Bulbous Oat Grass produces some wonderful gold/yellow and green flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Bulbous Oat Grass have a beautiful variegated color during most of the year.

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

Bulbous Oat Grass and insects

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Bulbous Oat Grass is well known for its tolerance to dry soil and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ will be fine.


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

Most Arrhenatherum Elatius Var. Bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ owners agree that this herb will look great in most contemporary and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage styles. 

In particular, the Bulbous Oat Grass’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a rock garden, border, coastal exposure, or a water garden.

Companion Plants

Bulbous Oat Grass’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Aster x frikartii, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

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


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Bulbous Oat Grass to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

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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