Saturday, January 21, 2012

Palmarosa Grass, Cymbopogon martinii

Palmarosa Grass
  Cymbopogon martinii
This is another ornamental grass which comes into its own over summer. Related to Lemon grass it grows to about the same height of about a metre though it forms a more narrow and graceful clump and the flower heads are more interesting as they resemble barbed-wire encircling thin stems standing erect above the lovely foliage. Propagation is usually from seed, which is how I grew it, but clumps could perhaps be divided during the warmer months. This is something I have yet to try.
Over winter growth slows and the whole plant develops a bronze or rusty red tinge. Though sub-tropical in origin, it has good cold tolerance and could be grown as far south as Melbourne. As for most ornamental grasses, maintenance is to cut it back in spring to allow for new growth to appear as the weather warms up. Palmarosa grass releases a warm rose geranium scent when the leaves are crushed and oil extracted from the plant is used in the perfume industry.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian, this grass is very appealing but if grown in Melb I think it would need watering to thrive. Thanks for reminding me that grass should be cut right in spring. I always forget and that's why my grasses rarely look quite as good as they should. Blue fescue is probably my favourite. cheers, catmint