Big Quaking Grass Briza maxima

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass
greater quaking grass


The plant known as quaking grass has an interesting and unique appearance that makes it easily recognizable. It has delicate, nodding flower heads that are held aloft on slender stems, creating an airy and whimsical look. These flower heads are composed of multiple stacked spikelets, giving them a rattling appearance as they flutter in the breeze. The color palette of quaking grass is quite appealing, with the inflorescence bearing a range of colors from light green to purplish-brown as it matures, occasionally having hints of a soft, straw-like yellow. Overall, the plant exudes a gentle and elegant charm, its movement lending it an almost living, breathing quality as though it's softly communicating with its surroundings. The leaves are narrow, typically a soft green hue, and they arch gracefully from the base of the plant, contributing to its feathery, ethereal aesthetic.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Big Quaking Grass, Large Quaking Grass, Greater Quake Grass, Blowfly Grass, Shelly Grass, Rattlesnake Grass.

    • Common names

      Briza maxima, Briza aristata, Briza dura, Briza elongata, Briza gracilis, Briza intermedia, Briza latifolia, Briza laxa, Briza longifolia, Briza media, Briza pallida, Briza spicata, Briza subaristata, Briza uniolae, Briza unioloides, Brizopyrum maximum, Festuca briza, Poa maxima, Uniola maxima.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Quaking grass is generally not considered toxic to humans. There are no well-documented cases of poisoning or adverse effects from ingesting this plant. However, as with any non-food plant, it is always wise to exercise caution and avoid ingesting parts of plants not meant for consumption, as they could cause irritation or an unexpected allergic reaction.

    • To pets

      Quaking grass is also not known to be toxic to pets. It is unlikely to cause poisoning in animals if ingested in small quantities. Nevertheless, pet owners should monitor their pets and prevent them from eating large amounts of any non-food plants, including Quaking grass, as it could potentially lead to gastrointestinal upset or an obstruction.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      0.5-1 feet (15-30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Aesthetics: Briza maxima, commonly known as large quaking grass, adds visual interest to gardens with its delicate, heart-shaped seed heads that move in the breeze.
    • Erosion Control: Its root system can help stabilize the soil, thus reducing erosion in landscapes where it is planted.
    • Wildlife Support: The seed heads of large quaking grass provide food for birds and small mammals, supporting local biodiversity.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Briza maxima is tolerant of drought conditions, making it suitable for xeriscaping or low-water gardens.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires minimal care once established, making it a good choice for those seeking a low-maintenance garden addition.
    • Seasonal Interest: The plant has a distinct presence in different seasons, with attractive green foliage in spring and golden tones in the seed heads during fall.
    • Adaptability: It can grow in a variety of soils, from sandy to loamy to clay, and thus can be cultivated in many different settings.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Decoration: Briza maxima, commonly known as Big Quaking Grass, is often used in dried floral arrangements due to its unique and decorative seed heads that add texture and interest.

    • Crafts: The dried seed heads can be incorporated into wreaths, ornaments, and other craft projects for a natural touch.

    • Filler for pillows and mattresses: In some cultures, the dried grass is used as a filling material for pillows and mattresses, providing a rustling sound effect that some people find soothing.

    • Sound effects: The seed heads, when dried, can be used as natural shakers in music productions or theatrical performances to create rustling sound effects that mimic nature.

    • Photography: Big Quaking Grass offers a visually interesting element to artistic and macro photography due to its delicate and intricate seed heads.

    • Educational use: Schools and educational programs may use Briza maxima as a subject for botanical studies and plant life cycle education.

    • Landscaping: Although not the primary use, Big Quaking Grass can be used in landscaping to create naturalized or wild meadow-looking areas in gardens and parks.

    • Themed events: It can contribute to the décor for garden parties or eco-friendly events, creating a natural and whimsical atmosphere.

    • Jewelry making: The lightweight and ornamental seed heads may be used in creating unique pieces of jewelry, such as earrings or pendants.

    • Biodegradable confetti: Seed heads of Big Quaking Grass can be used as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional confetti in celebrations.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Briza maxima, commonly known as Big Quaking Grass, is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Big Quaking Grass is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Peace - Briza maxima, commonly known as Big Quaking Grass, has delicate, nodding flower heads that can evoke a sense of calm and tranquility, representing peace.
    • Gentleness - The soft, gentle swaying of Briza maxima in the breeze is reminiscent of a tender and mild nature, symbolizing gentleness.
    • Flexibility - With its ability to bend gracefully with the wind without breaking, Big Quaking Grass can symbolize flexibility and adaptability in life's challenges.
    • Ephemerality - The delicate seed heads of Briza maxima are not long-lasting, often symbolizing the ephemeral nature of beauty and the fleeting moments in life.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Quaking grass prefers consistent moisture, especially during the growing season. Water it deeply once a week, allowing soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Use approximately one gallon per plant for each watering session, adjusting for climate and weather conditions. During the hot summer months, you may need to water more frequently, while in cooler temperatures, or if rain is abundant, reduce the amount. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so be cautious not to let the plant sit in soggy soil.

  • sunLight

    Quaking grass thrives in full sun to partial shade. Choose a spot where the plant can receive at least six hours of sunlight per day. Avoid deep shade as it can lead to weak growth and fewer seed heads. The plant can tolerate some light afternoon shade in hot climates, which can help prevent scorching.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Quaking grass is hardy and adapts well to a variety of temperatures, but it grows best in environments where the temperature ranges from 60°F to 75°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to around 20°F, making it suitable for growth in many areas. Avoid exposing quaking grass to temperatures above 80°F for prolonged periods, as extreme heat can stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Quaking grass generally requires minimal pruning. Trim away any brown or damaged leaves to maintain a neat appearance. Pruning should be done after the flowering season, typically in late summer or fall, to remove spent flower stalks and encourage new growth for the next season. Prune selectively, as too much pruning can reduce the plant's natural movement and charm.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Quaking grass prefers well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. A good soil mix for quaking grass would consist of two parts loam, one part sand, and one part peat or compost to ensure drainage and fertility.

  • plantRepotting

    Quaking grass typically does not require frequent repotting and can be repotted every other year or when it outgrows its current container, as it has a relatively small root system.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Quaking grass thrives best in moderate humidity conditions and does not require any special humidity requirements, making it relatively easy to care for in various indoor environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place quaking grass in bright, indirect light and water sparingly.

    • Outdoor

      Plant quaking grass in full sun to partial shade in a well-drained area.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Briza maxima, commonly known as Greater Quaking Grass, initiates its life cycle when its seeds germinate, typically in the fall or early spring. The seedlings soon develop into a tuft of basal leaves, proceeding through a vegetative stage where they grow and mature until they form a clump. As temperatures rise in late spring to early summer, the plant enters the reproductive stage, sending up flowering stems that display the characteristic heart-shaped, pendant florets which quake or tremble in the wind. After pollination, these flowers produce seeds that mature by late summer, then the plant becomes senescent as energy reserves are transferred to the seeds. Once mature, the seeds are dispersed by wind, animals, or human activities, completing the cycle. The plant is an annual, so after seeding, it dies, relying entirely on its seeds to propagate the next generation.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • Briza maxima, commonly known as Greater Quaking Grass, is typically propagated through seeds. The best time to sow the seeds is in the spring after the last frost has passed. To propagate, the seeds should be scattered onto a well-draining soil mix and gently pressed into the soil but not covered, as they need light to germinate. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Germination usually takes place within two to three weeks depending on temperature and moisture conditions. Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, they can be transplanted to their final growing position where they can enjoy full sun to partial shade.