Anemanthele lessoniana

Drainage:DampWell Drained
Height Range:1
Site Conditions:Frost TolerantHeavy SoilLoamy SoilSandy SoilWindy
Spread Range:1
Sunlight:Full ShadeFull SunPartial Shade
Features:Attractive FlowersAttractive foliageAttractive to beesAttractive to BirdsAttractive to insectsEvergreenSuitable for Revegetation SpeciesTolerant of Shade
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Anemanthele lessoniana is endemic to New Zealand and can be found from Northland down through the South Island’s East Coast. As of 2018, listed as at risk in the wild. It easily grows from seed and can escape gardens, so it is best to source from as close to local as possible. An excellent garden grass, suitable for most soil types and sun situations, although it has the most colourful foliage in full sun.

Anemanthele lessoniana is a favoured ornamental grass in gardens and landscapes. This perennial grass grows in clusters, displaying tufts of gracefully arching, slender leaves reaching around 100cm in height. Initially green, the leaves transform into a captivating bronze or coppery hue as they mature, providing a vibrant array of warm tones. The slender and flexible colourful foliage gently flutter and sway in the breeze, earning the grass its apt nickname Rainbow Wind Grass.

Known for its hardiness and minimal upkeep requirements, Anemanthele lessoniana thrives in well-draining soil and tolerates diverse growing conditions, including coastal and exposed sites. Natural habitats for Anemanthele lessoniana range from sea level to montane forests, encompassing forest margins, scrublands, and cliff faces.

Works well as a mass planting, especially on a slope. Often employed as an accent plant in borders, mass plantings, or as a focal point, this grass also finds utility in dried flower arrangements, contributing its distinctive texture and color to add depth.

Overall, Anemanthele lessoniana stands as an ornamental grass that not only captivates with its unique foliage and attractive flowers but also demands little maintenance. Planted in full sun on well-drained sites, it tolerates brief dry spells, coastal conditions, frost, and cool climates, but it falters in prolonged wet conditions.

Pairs well with Pseudopanax crassifolius, Corokia cotoneaster and Muehlenbeckia astonii for a low-maintenance, texture-filled garden garden.

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