Giant sacaton: a grass for texture and beauty

Sporobolus wrightii Giant Sacaton Plant Select

Giant sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii) is a wonderful xeric, southwestern native grass. The golden seed heads on this grass can easily reach six feet tall, which makes it a great replacement for other non-native, water loving grasses like maiden grass (Miscanthus).

This is a big beautiful plant that can ultimately reach five feet wide, and will add impressive structure to you garden. It turns a lovely golden color in the winter months. The inflorescence can be cut and brought inside for fresh and dried arrangements, a nice addition for your fall and winter decorating.

Giant sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii) is very drought tolerant but would appreciate a couple of deep waterings through the driest months. To keep it looking great, cut it to the ground in early spring to remove last years’ dead leaves. Giant sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii) will look right at home with other Plant Select® selections like SONORAN SUNSET® hyssop (Agastache cana ‘Sinning’) or SUNSET® hyssop (Agastache rupestris) or even last years selections of Salvia greggii, Wild Thing sage and Furman’s Red sage.

View the plant profile here or watch the video here.

Giant Sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii)

Perennial

Height: 5-7′
Width: 3-5′
Blooms: Late summer to fall
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Moisture: Moderate to xeric
Hardiness: USDA zones 5-8
Culture: Garden loam, clay or sandy soil

Thanks to Shalene Hiller, City of Westminster, for writing this piece.

6 responses to “Giant sacaton: a grass for texture and beauty”

  1. Barb says:

    Question: Will it need to be thinned out in order to keep it from getting wider and wider like Pampus grass? I don’t mind cutting it back every spring but am not able to dig it up to divide or keep it from spreading. Also, will the seeds blow in the wind and reseed in other areas. It is beautiful but I’m nervous about growing it.

    • Pat Hayward says:

      Over many, many years the center may die out a bit and it will continue to spread slowly – are you giving it supplemental water? It should be able to thrive on natural precipitation and that should keep it in check if you’re in the dry west. It is a large plant, however, so you won’t be able to keep it “small.” We haven’t seen a lot of re-seeding but if you are, best to pull the seedlings sooner rather than later when they’re big if they’re in places you don’t want. This is a native plant of the southwestern US so concern of “invasiveness” is somewhat unwarranted.

  2. Earl says:

    Everyone seems to state this is Southwestern plant, but the University of Nebraska has it listed as recommended ornamental for Nebraska. Can you provide any insight as to what is going on?

    Thanks! Earl

    • Pat Hayward says:

      Just because it’s not FROM Nebraska doesn’t mean it doesn’t work well there, especially in the drier parts. It’s actually native to New Mexico and one of the best large ornamental grasses for Colorado! Hope that helps.

  3. Mark Vandigo says:

    I was able to collect giant sacaton seed in metro Denver this month (September, 2016). My intent is to grow it on the Colorado prairie near the Kansas border. I will be trying to grow some in pots to transplant, but also will try to scatter some seed hoping for some level of germination. My questions are in regard to treatment of the seed. and timing of my plantings. Should I refrigerate my seed, freeze it , or store it in cool, dry location until spring? Should I scatter some outside this fall to overwinter outdoors, hoping for spring germination on mother natures schedule? Would it be better to plant sometime next spring? Any guidance you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you. Mark Vandigo

    • Pat Hayward says:

      I found this on the California Native Plant Society website: For propagating by seed: Soak in water 24 hrs. (72 hrs. okay); germinate at high diurnal fluctuation, room temperature ( 71° to 79.7°) and 91.4°F. Sow seeds wet. I’ll check with our growers to see if they have any other tips.

      My understanding is that the seed needs to be lightly covered so be sure that cover doesn’t blow off during the winter. Because of unpredictable moisture, winds and animals, you might be more successful with a spring sowing. And as you said, just keep the seed cool and dry – no temperature stratification needed that I know of, but fridge or cooler is a good idea for storage.

      Are you sure the seed was ripe? Seems a bit early for collecting, but good luck!

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