Phalaris arundinacea 'Picta' - Variegated Ribbon Grass
Phalaris arundinacea 'Picta' - Variegated Ribbon Grass - Photo courtesy of Sean James Consulting & Design

Variegated Ribbon Grass

Phalaris arundinacea 'Picta'

Also called Gardener's Garters

  • Flat, strap-like, green and white leaves, 15 mm wide, 30 cm long
  • Erect panicles of pink flowers turn to white and are not showy
  • Seeds are sterile
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Flower Height: 100 cm
  • Foliage Height: 70 cm
  • Grass Type: Cool Season



70-100 cm

70-150 cm

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Growing and Maintenance Tips:

It will grow in any soil, in standing water, moist or dry areas and will tolerate full sun and some light shade. Although seeds are sterile, it spreads actively by rhizome. Propagate by division, in the spring or fall. For best results, prune to 15 cm in the summer, when the flowers appear, to promote a fall flush. Not suitable for most small landscapes, as it spreads rapidly. Good for stabilizing slopes.

Additional Notes about Variegated Ribbon Grass:

Potential Invasive Species

Also known as Reed Canary Grass, any blades showing reversion (going green) should be removed, including the root.

Although Phalaris produces very little seed, and the seeds are infertile, any root cutting can sprout and establish in unintended places. 

Cool Season Grasses: These grasses do the majority of their growing in early spring and start again when temperatures start to cool in the fall. During the warmer summer months,they stop growing and some will even go dormant. Cool season grasses flower in the spring or early summer. Most cool season grasses grow best in a consistently moist soil.