Bear Grass Growing Conditions
Bear grass seeds arrived quickly, were very reasonably priced, excellent packaging. Excellent breathless instructions. Planted the next day and eager to see them grow. Bear grass in the wild is often a pioneer species that appears and then disappears when larger plants begin to colonize. It is also one of the first plants to appear after a fire. The plant struggles to survive in the wild due to habitat loss and deforestation. Start a few seeds and increase the population of this wild plant, which is important for many species of insects and animals. Some of the common names for the two members of Xerophyllum are Turkeybeard, Mountain Asphodel, Squaw Grass and Bear Grass. We just planted 12 two-year-old bear grass plants in our school`s native plant garden today. I hadn`t read about depression breeding until recently. We have these Klamath-Siskiyou seeds, clearly far from King County. Would Woodbrook be close enough to Gig Harbor or Inside Passages in Port Angeles to prevent reproductive depression? I couldn`t get the county map you were referring to while working on my device, btw. Thank you very much! It doesn`t seem that bear grass is naturally found on Vancouver Island, so maybe that`s why nurseries don`t carry it.
linnet.geog.ubc.ca/eflora_maps/index.html?sciname=Xerophyllum%20tenax&BCStatus=yellow&synonyms=`Helonias%20tenax`&commonname=bear-grass&PhotoID=3953&mapservice=VascularWMS Ken, it`s very interesting. Statements about bear grass flowering habits are, of course, generalizations, and there may be variations in individual plants, but this is a guess. I also wonder if your experience has anything to do with plants from a different region (this nursery is located east of the Cascades near the border with Idaho). I recommend breeding local ecotypes whenever possible to avoid reproductive depression, etc. Thank you for your comment! Give Bear Grass a break in the partial shade in the hottest desert areas. Where summer temperatures are less extreme, full sun promotes better growth. Bear grass is cold resistant up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Well-drained soil is preferable. Once established, bear grass is drought tolerant.
In the hottest areas, reduce the stress of summer with deep soaking every few weeks. The flowering stem can be cut at any time, but it is better to wait until the seeds ripen and fall or are eaten by the animals. As the plant matures, it develops compensations that can be harvested for propagation. Seeds should be freshly harvested and immediately planted or dried and stored in a dark, cool place. Bear grass is a favorite not only of bears, but also rodents and moose, attracting pollinating insects. Bear grass is endemic to the west coast, zones 4 to 8. He couldn`t survive a winter in Wisconsin. Please grow plants that are locally native and therefore better adapted to wildlife. I just received 15 tiny bear grass seedlings from Lawyer Nursery near Olympia WA. This is a wholesale business that retails for four days each spring – this year from May 18 to 21. I got there a few minutes before closing on the last day and was hoping to get a 5 pack for $15.
Delighted to get 3 packs of 5 for $15! I hope my thumb is green enough to be worth it! I believe Lawyer is headquartered in Plains, Montana. Seedlings: Without ploughing in late autumn, plant the seed of bear grass just below the surface of the earth. For spring planting, mix the seeds with wet sand and store them in the refrigerator for 14-16 weeks before planting. Keep the soil slightly moist until germination. Common bear grass is a wild habitat in the Pacific Northwest to British Columbia and southwestern Alberta. Bear grass in gardens has a striking perennial presence with its large fluffy flower heads and arched foliage. It is also quite easy to grow with high frost tolerance and low nutrient requirements. Learn how to grow bear grass and whether it is suitable for your garden.
Bear grass has thin grassy stems that can grow up to 3 feet (1 m) in length. It is an evergreen perennial plant found in open forests, sunny clearings in dry or wet soils. It is found mainly in cool subalpine areas. The flowers appear on a thick, fleshy stem that can grow up to 6 feet (2 m) tall. The flowers are a thick collection of fragrant, white and tiny flowers. Depending on the variety, the fragrance is reminiscent of old lilac or moldy socks. Fruits are dry capsules with 3 lobes. If you grow from seeds, it is better to grow turkey beard and other xerophyllum plants outdoors.
On a nature hike through western North America from late spring to early summer, you can see fields of thin, arched foliage with huge heads of fluffy white flowers. The plant is bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax), and the name comes from the fact that young bears seem to like to eat tender stems. The plant is protected in part of its natural range, so if you want to start growing bear grass in gardens, it is better to use seeds or transplant a balance from a gardener`s plant. Seed preservation: At the end of the flowering period, pods develop, which eventually turn brown and split to reveal the ripe seed. Shake the open pods on a container to remove the seed. Store bear grass seeds in a cool, dry place. We have a huge bear grass, but this year the new stems or frongs have twisted into a tangled mess. I thought they would grow to strengthen themselves, but they didn`t.
Would you advise reducing the twists or should I just leave it to sort it myself? Bear grass, Nolina microcarpa, looks like a piece of coarse grass, 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide when ripe. The leaves are 3 to 4 feet long and about 1/4 inch wide at the base, narrowing to a frayed tip. The edges of the leaves are finely toothed. A loose group of greenish-white flowers appears on a 3-foot stem that rises above the plant in May and June. The Snohomish County Conservation District is selling bear grass this year, snohomishcd.org/annual-plant-sale/ growing: seedlings must have well-drained soil that can dry between irrigations. This bear grass plant grows best in rocky and well-drained soils, but also tolerates sandy or poor soils. Young plants can eventually grow from rhizomes. Flowering can occur irregularly every few years. I try bear grass in my garden in Fort Mohave, Arizona today. 115 degrees, but so far it is holding up well this summer. We get little or no winter temperatures below 32 degrees. From most of the comments posted, it is clear that these plants thrive in areas far from here.
Does it need low winter temperatures to bloom, provided it gets through that first summer? Bear grass grows in zones 4 to 8; They are located in Zone 9 or 10 and the southernmost place where they occur naturally is Monterey County, California. I strongly suggest that you grow plants native to your area for a number of reasons. Thank you for your comment. It seems to me that this year has really been a record harvest and other years not so much. If they do, they can bloom every year and that makes a few years more lush. I remember someone once telling me they bloom every seven years, but I couldn`t check it out. Thank you, I LOVE bear grass, Pam Sorry, I don`t know what nurseries they would carry, but you might ask Inside Passage Seeds; There is also a list of kindergartens at the end of my book, but only a few are near you. Also check out the Native Seed Network, run by the Institute of Applied Ecology, though their website doesn`t seem to be available at the moment. I highly recommend using only plant material that has appeared near your area to prevent breeding depression and help them thrive in local conditions. -ES Thank you for your question. Bear grass usually thrives best when planted in areas where it occurs naturally (or has occurred historically) and with related native plants.
To find out if bear grass is natural in your county, go to plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=xete and zoom in. This Forest Service page lists ecosystems and plant associations: www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/xerten/all.html. If your spruces are native (oregonstate.edu/trees/conifer_genera/spp/spruce_spp.html), that would help, but I don`t think it matters. I imagine that if the shade of the trees is not too strong and there is at least some speckled sunlight, they might work well, but consider including other associated natives if you haven`t already. Good luck! I bought bear grass plants at Woodbrook Nursery in Gig Harbor, WA. They only sell native plants and have a pretty fantastic selection. Very wet springs (which we had last spring) and persistent humidity in summer are the key to these huge drifts of bear grass in full bloom (and probably with tufts that are mostly the same age). According to my research, after many years they bloom once (I think mine was 5 or 6 years old) and then die, but the plant can live via ramifications at the base, or it can sow itself. I`ve heard of this seven-year-old idea, but I don`t think it`s that accurate! 🙂 Growing ordinary bear grass from seeds is very simple, but the plants will not produce flowers for a few years. Propagation through rhizomes is faster and leads to flowers in the first year.
Bear grass is found in much of Arizona, central and southern New Mexico, and west Texas, as well as Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico. If you prefer rocky or grassy hills 3,000 to 6,500 feet above sea level. From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. Judy Mielke is a gardener, landscape architect and author of one of Water`s favorite books – Use It Wisely. Descriptions of plants like this and many others can be found in his book Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes.