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Tiger Grass Bamboo: Tropical Clumping Grass

    Tiger Grass Bamboo, also known as Tropical Clumping Grass (Thysanolaena maxima), is a fascinating plant that often gets mistaken for bamboo due to its striking resemblance. This perennial grass, native to Thailand, boasts unique features that set it apart from both running bamboo and clumping bamboo. In this article, we will explore the facts, features, and differences between this tropical wonder and its bamboo counterparts.

    Tiger Grass Bamboo: The Basics

    Tiger Grass Bamboo is a giant clumping grass that typically reaches a height of 3-4 meters (approximately 10-13 feet). Its most distinctive trait is its vase-shaped growth habit, adorned with large tropical green leaves, perfect alternative to bamboo plants.

    Unlike bamboo, which has branches, its leaves grow directly off the culm (stem). Each year, this remarkable grass produces grass flowers at the top, adding to its unique appeal.

    One of the key advantages ot this grass is its ability to thrive in various garden settings. Its natural clump size spans around 1 meter (about 3 feet), making it an ideal choice for tropical gardens or as a wide filler plant for screening purposes.

    Planting Tiger Grass Bamboo

    Planting Tiger Grass Bamboo requires attention to spacing, which is crucial for achieving the desired look. This grass grows in a circular footprint, so when planting, ensure that the distance between plants matches the available width. For instance, in an 80cm-wide planting trench, space the plants 80cm apart to create a dense screen. In narrower spaces, you can plant them closer together, but this will limit their ultimate height.

    Before planting, it’s advisable to enrich the soil with organic matter. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and as deep as the current container. Remove any damaged or dead roots from the plant before placing it in the hole. Backfill with soil and water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.

    Caring for Tiger Grass Bamboo

    Tiger Grass Bamboo is relatively low-maintenance and becomes drought-tolerant once fully established. During its initial year of growth and in dry periods, it benefits from consistent moisture. Applying mulch around the plant helps retain soil moisture, but be sure to leave some space between the mulch and the grass stems.

    After around 4 to 5 years of growth, you may notice a buildup of dead growth in the middle of the clumps. Pruning can be done either by individually cutting back old stems to ground level with secateurs or by trimming the entire clump just above ground level using a chainsaw or large hedge clippers. This rejuvenation technique results in rapid new growth within a few months.

    Tips and Ideas

    Tiger Grass Bamboo adapts well to container gardening, making it suitable for both sunny and partially shaded spots. When growing in pots, regular watering is essential, especially during hot, dry weather, as potted soil tends to dry out quickly.

    Also, thanks to its clumping nature and dense top growth, it is an excellent choice for creating natural-looking fences or hedges. For an ideal hedge, space the plants approximately 1 meter apart, allowing them to reach a height of 1 to 2 meters.

    Planting them closer together will result in a denser hedge but may limit their height. Unlike many other hedge plants, this tropical grass does not require frequent pruning, as it naturally maintains a pleasing vase-like shape.

    Tiger grass bamboo landscape plants
    Garden Bamboo Plants Grass Garden

    Tropical Clumping Grass

    Tiger Grass Bamboo is generally resilient and doesn’t suffer from significant pest or disease. However, it is sensitive to frost and cold temperatures. In colder regions, it can thrive when placed in sheltered locations protected from frost.

    If you’re in search of a fantastic alternative to traditional bamboo, yet desire that lush tropical garden jungle vibe, Tiger Grass is the answer you’ve been seeking. This fast-growing giant clumping grass boasts oversized tropical green leaves, ideal for crafting your very own jungle canopy. Whether you’re aiming to create pool screens or enhance large pots, Tiger Grass is the perfect choice to transform your outdoor space into a vibrant tropical haven.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. How fast does Tiger Grass Bamboo grow?

    An exceptionally fast-growing, it can reach its ultimate height and width in as little as 18 months.

    2. How tall does it grow?

    It can grow up to 3 meters in height, but if planted closely, it may not reach its full potential height, as width and height are closely related.

    3. Does it drop leaves?

    No, Tiger Grass Bamboo does not drop its leaves. In colder climates, leaves may turn yellow in winter but will green up again as temperatures rise.

    4. Is it invasive?

    No, Tiger Grass Bamboo is not invasive because it maintains a circular footprint, ensuring it does not spread beyond its natural clump.

    Tropical Wonder Grass

    In summary, Tiger Grass Bamboo is a remarkable and visually striking plant that resembles bamboo but exhibits distinct characteristics.

    With its rapid growth, tropical appearance, and low maintenance requirements, it is a fantastic addition to gardens and outdoor spaces. Whether used as a screen, hedge, or standalone specimen, it brings a touch of the tropics to any landscape, without the invasive tendencies often associated with bamboo.

    Check out our YouTube Channel for more inpiring bamboo alternatives and bamboo plant ideas.

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