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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

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Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’: New in the 2011/2012 RHS Plant Finder

Posted by Graham Rice on 20 Apr 2011 at 12:44 PM

Chasmanthium,River Mist,Plant Finder,RHS. Image ©ItSaul Plants

I'm continuing my look at plants new in the latest RHS Plant Finder which are listed by the most nurseries. Top of the list was Actaea ‘Misty Blue’, next came Geranium ‘Midnight Clouds’, then Erodium ‘Freedom’ and today it’s Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’.

Chasmanthium latifolium, sometimes called Northern sea oats or oat grass,  is a popular ornamental grass grown for its attractive, oat-like sprays of flowers, its broad foliage which develops bronze tones in autumn and its ability to thrive in the shade.

‘River Mist’ (click the image to enlarge) is a new variegated form with its broad foliage striped along its length in white, the leaves often emerge almost entirely white, and develop green stripes as they mature. The late summer flower heads are also distinct, being silver in colour rather than the usual green.

Reaching about 30-36in/75-90cm in height with a spread of 24-36in/60-90cm, in general it resembles an elegant and extremely refined bamboo – but without the all-too-vigorous drawbacks of many bamboos. And with its tolerance of shade it makes a fine but manageable specimen, creating a bright splash in the shade garden where it looks good with other shade plants, in particular blue leaved hostas. Its flower heads turn coppery in the autumn and can be dried for the winter.

‘River Mist’ also makes a fine container plant and, as well as thriving in light shade, will also grow in sun in soil that does not dry out.

This variegated form was found as a single plant amongst five hundred green leaved plants growing in pots on a nursery in Georgia, USA in July 2004.

You can order plants of Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’ from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.


Susiq said:

Beautiful, I love its 'bamboo-like' appearance - more to add to the wish list whilst at Chelsea!

on 20 Apr 2011 at 02:12 PM

Graham Rice said:

Yes, Susiq, it's like a conveniently sized, well behaved bamboo.

on 20 Apr 2011 at 02:25 PM