Silky Spike Melic Melica ciliata

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic
silky-spike melic


Melica ciliata, commonly known as silky spike melic, is a perennial grass characterized by its graceful and elegant appearance. It forms a clump with narrow, bright to mid-green leaves, which can be slightly hairy, providing a soft texture to the touch. The foliage gracefully arches, creating a fountain-like shape that gently sways with the wind. The most distinctive feature of silky spike melic is its flowers. The plant bears delicate flower spikes that have a silky, hair-like appearance, hence the name. These flowers emerge during late spring to early summer and can vary in color from a soft green to silver or purplish hues. The flowers are arranged in loose, nodding panicles that catch the light beautifully, adding a sense of movement and lightness to the plant's profile. As the season progresses, the flowers can develop into small, hard fruit that may retain the plant's attractive appearance well into the fall. Overall, the silky spike melic presents a refined and gentle aesthetic that makes it a popular choice for naturalistic plantings, meadow gardens, and for adding texture and visual interest to borders and garden beds. Its unique flowering spikes provide an ornamental quality that can complement a diverse range of garden designs.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Silky Spike Melic, Fringed Melic Grass, Silky Melic, Hairy Melic

    • Common names

      Melica ciliata var. magnolii, Melica magnolii, Melica ciliata var. glabrata, Melica glabrata.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Silky spike melica is not widely known for its toxicity to humans. There are no significant reports or concerns relating to its ingestion causing poisoning symptoms. However, it is generally recommended to avoid eating any part of ornamental plants due to the possible presence of unknown or unexpected toxic substances. If you suspect poisoning from any plant, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly.

    • To pets

      Silky spike melica is not commonly recognized as a toxic plant to pets. There appears to be no substantial evidence to suggest that pets would experience poisoning symptoms from ingesting parts of this plant. Nevertheless, it is always safer to prevent pets from consuming plants that are not part of their normal diet, as individual animals might have specific sensitivities. If you notice any abnormal symptoms in your pet after ingestion of any plant material, consult a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet (0.61 meters)

    • Spread

      1 foot (0.30 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Sustainable landscaping: Melica ciliata, commonly known as silky speargrass, is often used in sustainable landscaping for its low maintenance requirements and adaptability to various environments.
    • Erosion control: This grass has a robust root system that can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes and banks.
    • Habitat for wildlife: Silky speargrass provides shelter and food for a variety of wildlife, including insects and small mammals.
    • Aesthetic appeal: With its fine texture and graceful appearance, silky speargrass is often used for its ornamental value in gardens and natural landscapes.
    • Drought tolerance: Once established, Melica ciliata can tolerate periods of drought, making it suitable for xeriscaping and water-efficient gardens.
    • Soil health: The plant can contribute to the overall health of the soil by adding organic matter as its foliage dies back and decomposes.

  • 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

    • Ornamental Grass: Melica ciliata, commonly known as silky spike melon grass, is used in landscape design for its delicate, feathery inflorescences which add texture and movement to garden compositions.
    • Erosion Control: The fibrous root system of silky spike melon grass helps stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes and banks.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The grass provides shelter and nesting materials for small birds and insects within natural and semi-natural habitats.
    • Craft Material: Dried stems and flower heads of Melica ciliata are sometimes used in floral arrangements and craft projects for their aesthetic appeal.
    • Soil Improvement: As a native grass, it can contribute to the build-up of topsoil and the improvement of soil health through its decaying plant matter.
    • Dye Production: Limited information suggests that the plant could potentially be used in the production of natural dyes, though specific methods and colors are not well documented.
    • Education and Research: The species can be used for educational purposes, providing an example of native grass ecology and plant biology studies.
    • Border Plants: Due to their size and attractive appearance, silky spike melon grass is suitable for use as border plants in gardens and parks.
    • Ground Cover: It can be used as a low-maintenance ground cover in appropriate climates, forming a natural green carpet in garden spaces.
    • Seed Source: The seeds of Melica ciliata may serve as food for certain wild bird species, thus playing a role in supporting local biodiversity.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Silky spike is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Silky spike is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Elegance: Melica ciliata, commonly known as Silky Spike Melic, possesses slender and delicate foliage that often sways elegantly in the breeze, thus symbolizing grace and poise.
    • Peacefulness: Its gentle movement and soft appearance can impart a sense of calm and peace, making it a symbol for tranquility.
    • Resilience: As a grass that grows well in wild meadows and rocky grounds, it represents the ability to survive and thrive in challenging environments.
    • Growth: Like many grasses, Silky Spike Melic symbolizes growth and the continuous cycle of renewal, reflecting the plant's natural lifecycle of dying back and regrowing each year.
    • Harmony with Nature: Its presence in natural settings invokes a connection with the natural world, symbolizing harmony with the environment and the balance of ecosystems.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Silky Spike Melica does well with consistent moisture, especially during its growing season in the spring and early summer. Watering should be done when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which typically equates to once every week or two, depending on climate conditions. Preferably, the plant should receive about 1 inch of water per week, which translates to just over half a gallon for a small to medium-sized plant. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. It's essential to water the plant at its base rather than overhead to prevent fungal diseases on the foliage.

  • sunLight

    Silky Spike Melica thrives best in partial shade to full sunlight. The ideal location would offer some shelter from the hottest afternoon sun, particularly in warmer climates. The plant can adapt to a range of light conditions but should get at least four hours of direct sunlight daily to maintain its health and vigor.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Silky Spike Melica prefers temperatures between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit but can tolerate a range from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it may struggle if temperatures consistently fall outside this range. Hotter temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit may stress the plant, and it will likely not survive extended periods of frost or temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Silky Spike Melica requires minimal pruning to maintain its shape and remove any dead or damaged foliage. Pruning is best done in late winter or early spring before new growth starts, which encourages denser fresh growth. Removing spent flower stalks can promote a tidier appearance but is not necessary for the plant's health.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    For Silky Spike Melica, the best soil mix is well-draining, loamy to sandy soil with some organic content. Aim for a soil pH of 5.5 to 7.5, which is slightly acidic to neutral. Incorporate peat, coarse sand, and compost to improve drainage and fertility.

  • plantRepotting

    Silky Spike Melica generally does not require frequent repotting and can be repotted every 2-3 years. It's best to repot in the spring before new growth starts.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Silky Spike Melica prefers moderate humidity levels but is quite adaptable. Aim for humidity levels between 40% to 60% for optimal growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and ensure good airflow.

    • Outdoor

      Partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Melica ciliata, commonly known as silky spike melic, begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in the spring under adequate soil moisture and temperature conditions. The seedling emerges and establishes a root system while developing grass-like leaves that photosynthesize to fuel growth. As it matures, Melica ciliata enters the vegetative stage, forming clumps through tillering, which is the production of new shoots from the base of the plant. This perennial grass then reaches the reproductive stage, typically in late spring to early summer, sending up flowering stalks known as culms that bear the inflorescences with silky hairs, a distinctive feature giving the plant its name. After pollination, often aided by the wind, seeds develop and are dispersed by various means, such as animals or wind, to colonize new areas. The plant goes dormant during the winter, with the cycle repeating the following spring as temperatures and day length signal the new growing season.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • Propogation: Silky spikelets grass, as Melica ciliata is commonly known, is best propagated through the division of its rhizomes, which is a form of vegetative reproduction. The optimal time for dividing this grass is in the early spring, just as new growth is beginning to appear. To propagate by division, the gardener should carefully dig up an established clump of silky spikelets grass, ensuring that they have a good portion of the root system attached. The clump can then be gently separated into smaller sections, each with several shoots and a healthy amount of roots. These sections should be planted at the same depth they were growing at previously, spaced about 18 inches (approximately 45 centimeters) apart to allow sufficient room for growth. It's important to water these new divisions thoroughly after planting to help establish them. This method is highly effective and helps to maintain the genetic consistency of the plants, ensuring that the new silky spikelets grass plants will be true to the parent plant in form and growth characteristics.