Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Stipa gigantea

Common Name
Giant Feather grass, Golden Oats
CA Native
Non-native
Plant Type
Grass or grass-like plant
Size
2' x 4' - blooms 3' - 4' above
Flower Color
Golden
Bloom Time
  • Summer
Leaves
Evergreen
Evergreen
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
Growth Rate
Moderate
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Low Maintenance
  • Showy Flowers
  • Specimen
Water Use
  • Moderate
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
Exposure
  • Full Sun
Soil Type
Loam
Drainage
Well Drained
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

This native to southern Europe and Norhern Africa is a clumping, evergreen giant feather grass that is the largest and most spectacular of the Stipa species.  Stately and elegant, it forms a dense mound of fine-textured gray-green rolled leaves that is topped by golden inflorescent blooms that emerge in May, fully mature in June and last in a spent state well into fall.  It is particularly beautiful with summer sun lighting it from behind.  It grows best in well-drained, fertile soil in full sun.  Good plant for coastal gardens and windy sites.

Master Gardener Comments

Does not like waterlogged conditions, particularly during winter.  It does poorly in shade.  The flowers are wonderful for dried flower arrangements.  It's very eye-catching in both sun and moonlight.

Note: Gophers seem to love this plant so it is a good idea to protect the plant in areas where there are gophers by planting in cages.

Varietals

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