Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is a large perennial which can reach 10 feet in height, with clumps measuring 6 feet across. The top is graced with feathery plumes in various shades of beige, white, pink and even yellow during the growing season. While the grasses originated in South America, they are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture gardening zones 5b to 11. Commonly used for formal landscaping, the tall plumes can be harvested and easily dried for decorative purposes.
1 Look over the pampas grass plumes before making any cuts. Avoid any that appear covered in insects or show signs of disease, as these are not good candidates for drying. Harvest only those plumes that are newly bloomed for the freshest materials.
2 Cut the pampas grass stems at the desired length, making a straight cut across the stem to sever it from the plant.
3 Spray each pampas grass plume with a light coating of hairspray to protect the fragile plume once it dries.
4 Remove all leaves from the pampas grass stems to speed up the drying process.
5 Lightly bind the stems with twine, and hang the plumes upside down in a cool, dark room, such as a laundry room or closet. Make sure the plumes do not touch.
6 Allow the plumes to hang up to three weeks. Once the stems feel dry, remove the plants from the drying area and use for decorating purposes.
Items you will need
- Work gloves
- Pruning shears
- Harvest stems at midday after the dew has dried.
- All but 1 to 2 inches of the grass stem may be removed for faster drying; simply attach the plume to a wire stem for flower arrangements.
- Always wear long sleeves, pants and work gloves when handling pampas grass due to the sharp edges of the leaves.
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