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Don’t forget fall flowers

So often we think about fall for the beauty of the changing leaves and forget about the fall bloomers.

There are many plants that wait until fall or winter to bloom — extending the season in our landscapes.  A few to enjoy and plant now are the fall blooming azaleas, Sasanqua camellia, Camellia japonica and the ornamental grasses.

Gulf Coast muhly — or pink muhly grass — is one of the most stunning ornamental grasses in the fall landscape. While other ornamental grasses are on the decline, this native produces attractive green, fine-textured foliage that is covered with a pink cloud of wispy flower heads.

Flowering usually begins in late September and continues through November. The flowering impact is amplified when the grass is planted in large masses. By late summer, a mature planting of muhly grass will grow to about 30-36 inches tall with a spread of 3-4 feet.

Muhly grass is a hardy perennial. It should be pruned in late winter just prior to new foliage growth. Reduce the plant height by two-thirds — allowing room for the new season’s growth.

Care for muhly grass is minimal. Other than pruning and a light fertilization in early spring this native beauty is virtually care free. Provide full sun and minimum irrigation. Muhly grass is one of our drought tolerant species.

I love the colors of the changing leaves, but the flowers of fall are the added bonus.

Rebecca Bates is an MSU Extension-Lincoln County agent, and can be reached at 601-835-3460 or by e-mail at rebecca.bates@msstate.edu.