Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’

15 Feb

Stenotaphrum secundatum 'Variegatum' (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’ (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Late summer to autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 15cm

Eventual Spread: 90cm

Hardiness: 9b, 10a, 10b, 11

Family: Poaceae

Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’ is an evergreen sub tropical to tropical grass with a mat forming habit. Its dark green leaves have cream variegation along their length, are lanceolate to ovate with entire margins, up to 12cm long and 12mm across. Its brown to green flowers and appear on one sided spikes. Its roots have stolons which aids its spread.

The species, Stenotaphrum secundatum, commonly known as Buffalo Grass, Buffalo Turf, St Augustine Grass and Charleston Grass, is native to sub tropical and tropical North America. In its native habitat it grows as a monotypic ground cove plant. Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’ is commonly known as Variegated Buffalo Grass.

The etymological root of the binomial name Stenotaphrum is derived from the Greek stenos meaning ‘narrow’ and tafros meaning ‘ditch’. Secundatum is derived from the Latin menaing ‘bent’.

The landscape architect may find Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’ useful as an effective ground cover grass suitable for use on internal planting schemes. It may also be planted as a houseplant into pots where its runners can be allowed to cascade down the sides of the pot.

Ecologically, Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’ is of little value to UK wildlife.

Stenotaphrum secundatum 'Variegatum' Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’ Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

The Royal Horticultural Society have given Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

When maintaining Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’ as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 16ºc to 30ºc, although it will tolerate a temperature as low as 0ºc. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out once a month during the growing season.

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