Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Melinus nerviglumis or Rhynchelytrum nerviglume

Common Name
Ruby Grass
CA Native
Non-native
Plant Type
Grass or grass-like plant
Size
8"- 12" x 8"- 12"
Flower Color
Bloom Time
  • Summer
Leaves
Evergreen
Evergreen
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
Growth Rate
Moderate
Hardiness
Semi-hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Fall Color
  • Low Maintenance
  • Showy Flowers
Water Use
  • Low
  • Moderate
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
Exposure
  • Full Sun
Soil Type
Not Particular
Drainage
Good Drainage
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

This semi-evergreen South African is a small beauty.  Lovely blue-green foliage form tight clumps of foliage with startlingly ruby-pink blooms rising above from mid-May until the cold of autumn, when leaves turn purple-red.  Blooms rise vertically above foliage 12" and turn to fluffy white, after ruby iridescence fades.   Evergreen in milder climates but it is not cold hardy (probably dying at 15 degrees), attractive in winter even if brown.  Best in full sun with moderate water but can tolerate considerable dryness when established.

Master Gardener Comments

Excellent showy flowery accent plant either in groups or alone.  Good in pots and in perennial garden.  Flowers are gorgeous backlit by either sun or lighting and are particularly lovely in both dried and fresh cut flower arrangements.  Best to buy plugs or small plants or propagate by seed – does not divide well.

Varietals

Top of page

Webmaster Email: banielsen@ucanr.edu