Feather grass Stipa calamagrostis

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


Stipa calamagrostis, commonly known as feather grass due to its light and feathery inflorescences, is a perennial grass noted for its sleek and elegant appearance. The leaves of feather grass are narrow and arching, creating a mounded form with fine texture. These leaves typically have a green hue that may turn to golden shades in the fall, providing a seasonal interest in the garden. The most characteristic feature of this grass is its feathery plumes. These plumes emerge above the foliage and give the plant a soft, airy look, which can appear to be almost silver or golden depending on the light conditions. They catch the sunlight and can glisten, creating a stunning visual effect as they sway in the breeze. The flowers typically emerge during late spring or early summer. The seed heads of feather grass are also noteworthy as they mature. They can remain on the plant through winter, adding movement and texture to the landscape during the colder months. These seed heads can catch snow or frost, contributing to the plant's ornamental value throughout the season. Overall, feather grass has a delicate and graceful aspect, which can contrast beautifully with the bolder forms and colors of other plants in a garden setting. It can soften hard landscaping features and is often used in naturalistic or prairie-style plantings.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Silver Spikegrass, Feather Grass

    • Common names

      Achnatherum calamagrostis, Stipa austroitalica, Stipa capillata subsp. calamagrostis, Stipa calamagrostis var. austroitalica.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Stipa calamagrostis, commonly known as feather grass, is not widely recognized for its toxicity towards humans. Most grass species, including feather grass, do not typically contain compounds that are harmful when touched or ingested by people. Therefore, there is generally no concern of poisoning if any part of the plant is accidentally ingested by humans. However, individuals with specific allergies or sensitivities should handle plants with caution as they may experience allergic reactions.

    • To pets

      Feather grass, also known as Stipa calamagrostis, is not known to be toxic to pets. This grass species is not listed among common poisonous plants to pets such as dogs and cats. Therefore, it's unlikely that feather grass would cause poisoning in pets if ingested. Nonetheless, pet owners should always monitor their pets' behavior and health for any adverse reactions after ingestion of plant material, as individual animals might have unique sensitivities.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Appeal: Stipa calamagrostis, also known as feather grass, adds aesthetic value to gardens with its fine-textured, feathery plumes and graceful, arching foliage.
    • Drought Tolerance: Feather grass is known for its ability to withstand periods of drought, making it suitable for xeriscaping and low-water landscaping.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires minimal care once established, with no need for frequent watering or fertilizing, which saves time and resources.
    • Erosion Control: The root system of Stipa calamagrostis helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, particularly on slopes and in areas prone to disturbance.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Feather grass can provide cover and nesting material for birds, as well as habitat for beneficial insects and small wildlife.
    • Seasonal Interest: The plant offers year-round interest with its changing colors and textures, from green blades in spring to golden hues in autumn and winter.
    • Adaptability: It can thrive in a variety of soil types and climatic conditions, making it versatile for use in different landscapes and gardens.

  • 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

    • Stipa calamagrostis, commonly known as feather grass, can be used in dried floral arrangements, as its tall, delicate flowers add a touch of elegance and can last for a long time without wilting.
    • The dried stems of feather grass can be used for crafting, such as in making dream catchers or decorative wreaths, where they add a natural and rustic look.
    • In landscaping, feather grass is used as a border plant for paths or driveways due to its low maintenance and ability to create a soft visual edge.
    • Feather grass is often planted on slopes and banks for erosion control, with its extensive root system helping to stabilize the soil.
    • The plant serves as a habitat for beneficial insects and spiders, promoting biodiversity in garden ecosystems.
    • Its seed heads are sometimes used as food by birds, particularly finches, during the fall and winter months.
    • In rural areas, feather grass is used as thatching for small structures or as fodder for livestock, especially when other food sources are scarce.
    • For photographic and artistic purposes, the silhouette of feather grass against the sun can create stunning visuals and is often captured in landscape photography.
    • Feather grass can play a role in sensory gardens, where its soft texture can be therapeutic for visitors to touch and feel.
    • The waving movement of feather grass in the breeze can be used in garden designs to convey a sense of motion and add dynamism to static landscapes.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Feather Grass is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Feather Grass is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Stipa calamagrostis, also known as feather grass, often symbolizes resilience as it can thrive in harsh conditions and remains upright even when faced with strong winds.
    • Elegance: Feather grass is admired for its delicate and graceful appearance, symbolizing elegance and a sense of calmness in its swaying movement.
    • Simplicity: With its simple structure and form, feather grass often represents the beauty of minimalism and straightforwardness in its symbolism.
    • Fleetingness: As feather grass blooms and changes with the seasons, it can represent the transient nature of life, reminding us of the constant change and impermanence.
    • Freedom: The way feather grass moves freely in the wind can symbolize independence and the desire to move without constraints.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Feather grass, commonly known as Stipa calamagrostis, should be watered deeply but infrequently to mimic its natural arid conditions. During the growing season, watering once a week with approximately 1 to 1.5 gallons of water per plant is sufficient. This helps in establishing a strong root system. However, once established, the plant is quite drought tolerant and the frequency of watering can be reduced. Always ensure the soil is allowed to dry between watering to prevent root rot. During winter, water sparingly, only to prevent the soil from completely drying out.

  • sunLight

    Feather grass thrives in full sun conditions, receiving at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. The ideal spot for this plant would be an open area where sunlight is abundant throughout the day. Avoid placing it in shaded or partially shaded areas, as insufficient sunlight can impede its growth and flowering potential.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Feather grass requires a range of temperatures to thrive, with ideal conditions being between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit during its dormant period in winter, but cannot survive in sustained extreme cold. Similarly, it can withstand high temperatures but may need additional water during particularly hot spells to maintain health.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune feather grass to maintain its shape and remove any dead or damaged foliage. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Cut back the foliage to about 4 to 6 inches from the ground. Pruning helps to invigorate the plant by encouraging fresh growth and should be done annually to keep the plant healthy and well-groomed.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for Feather Grass, commonly known as Stipa calamagrostis, is well-draining with a mix of loam, peat, and sand. The soil pH should ideally be within the neutral range, around 6.0 to 7.5, to accommodate this plant's growth requirements.

  • plantRepotting

    Feather Grass typically does not require frequent repotting and can be done every 2-3 years as they prefer to be slightly root-bound. It's best to repot Stipa calamagrostis when it outgrows its current container or the soil becomes compacted.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Stipa calamagrostis, or Feather Grass, prefers low to moderate humidity levels. It thrives in open spaces with natural airflow, so there's no need to artificially increase the humidity for this plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Plant in a well-draining pot with ample light.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun, well-draining soil; water moderately.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Stipa calamagrostis, also known as feather grass, begins its life cycle as a seed, often dispersed by wind due to its feather-like awns. Upon finding suitable soil and conditions, the seed germinates typically in the spring, developing roots and a shoot that grows into a seedling. As the seedling matures, it establishes a tufted clump of narrow, elongated leaves and a deep root system. During its growth phase, which occurs in late spring to early summer, the plant forms tall, slender flowering stems or culms topped with distinctive feathery inflorescences. After pollination by the wind, the plant sets seed which ripens by late summer or early fall, completing its reproductive cycle. Feather grass is a perennial, thus, after the seeds are dispersed, the plant overwinters as a basal rosette of leaves, ready to regrow and repeat the cycle in the following season.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method for propagating Feather Grass (Stipa calamagrostis) is through seed collection and sowing. The best time to collect seeds is when they mature in late summer to early fall. After collection, the seeds can be sown directly into the soil where they will grow. It is important to lightly cover the seeds with soil to ensure contact, but they should not be buried deeply; a covering of about 1/4 inch (about 6mm) is ideal. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged to promote germination. As they are a cool-season grass, sowing can also occur in early spring, offering another opportunity for the seeds to germinate in cooler temperatures.