Stipa tenuissima 'Pony Tails'
Garden Plant Information

Stipa tenuissima habit


S. tenuissima with Imperata rubra 'Cylindrica'

S. tenuissima growing with Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra'


Stipa tenuissima 'Pony Tails' (also called Feather grass and Pony tail grass)






'Pony Tails'

General description

Clump-forming, evergreen ornamental grass grown for attractive, swaying, wispy stems. Adds movement to borders and good for a sensory garden or for naturalistic planting. Goes well with many herbaceous perennials (I particularly like it with Rudbeckias) and other grasses (as shown above). Attractive to birds at nesting time. Attracts grasshoppers and beetles.

Season of interest

All year round.

Key horticultural features

  1. Habit - elegant, arching, clump-forming. H: 60cm S: 30cm.

  2. Stems and leaves - very fine, almost hair-like. Starts pale green, turning buff as the season progresses.

  3. Flowers -  fluffy plumes of pale silver-green flowers borne in summer.

Cultural details


Full sun - it almost glows in sunlight.


Light, well drained, moderately fertile.




Cut back in spring to allow new growth space to grow. If you don't cut it back, then comb out the old dead growth using a garden hand fork.



In some years, this plant is very attractive to sparrows, who will rip the plant to shreds to use for nesting, reducing it to a small, green, hedgehog-like clump in a matter of days. If this happens, you may need to protect it (a section of open-ended plastic tubing placed over it will keep it safe, but doesn't look very good). As a wildlife friendly solution, when I cut ours back I saved the bits and put that out instead, at nesting time. It dissuaded the sparrows from taking the live plants and they still had their nesting material.


Divide from mid-spring to early summer. Will also self-seed freely and the seedlings can be potted up.