September 2022 Plant of the Month Deer Grass

Deer Grass

Muhlenbergia rigens

Plant Form: Ornamental grass
Water Use: Low
Mature Size: 2-6 ft. tall and wide
Exposure: Full sun, part sun
Bloom time: Fall (September-November)
Native to: California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Northern Mexico
Hardiness: Cold Hardy to -10°F

Deer Grass is an adaptable, large bunch grass with blue-green foliage that softens desert landscapes wherever it is planted. Fast-growing, it typically reaches mature size in one or two years, with leaves reaching lengths of three feet, and flowering stalks reaching up to five feet. It is one of the most beautiful and easiest to grow of all the native California bunch grasses. Once mature, it needs no supplemental water, but providing summer water will keep its foliage lush. Cut back in late winter for vigorous spring growth, or leave natural for wildlife cover. Deer Grass gets its common name not from deer preferring its foliage as a browse plant, but because deer like to lay on mounds of the grass. Native Americans prized this plant for the long stems of its inflorescence, which they used in their basketry. Deer Grass is versatile as an accent, grouped as a groundcover, in rock gardens, along walkways and roads, or to droop over walls.