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Briza - The Quaking Grass

Briza minor; Briza media and Briza maxima

Briza ornamental grasses are noted for their pendant flowerheads - and later, seedheads, that bob about in the slightest of breezes.

Briza minor and Briza maxima are both annuals - so have to be sown every year - whilst Briza media - image below - is a perennial that renews its growth each spring, after dying down to ground level for the winter.

Briza media is the one that we feature here. A delicate looking grass, but well hardy to provide seedheads interest until late Autumn/mid Winter.

The common quaking grass - or Trembling Grass - Briza media - is best  planted in a 'specimen' position - not closed in by other plants in the border - for best effect.

During the summer, the longish leaves are coloured blue-green. The flower stems soon start to appear during late spring and persist thorough until late summer. The individual 'flowers' are greenish purple, and nod away at the slightest provocation.

The quaking flower heads are borne on stems up to 3ft tall. As can be seen in the image, the colour changes to straw as the late summer turns to autumn.

Briza media is best planted in an open situation in full sun, though it will also thrive in light or dappled shade - preferably against a dark background to get the best effect of the dainty flowers.

It makes and excellent patio pot plant, and will grow well in any container - either plastic or terra cotta. Visitor will undoubtedly want to tap the flower stalks to see the flowers or seedheads dancing about!

Briza is fully hardy - re-appearing year after year, and rarely needs any more than a bit of a tidy-up after the winter. (Leave the stems on the plant through the autumn/winter.)

There are no pests or disease to worry about with this grass, and like so many grasses, they are quite happy in dry conditions.

Propagation of Briza media.

All of the Briza group can be propagated by seed sown in spring. The seed can either be sown where the plant is to grow, or better still, sprinkle a few seeds in individual pots and then plant out soon after germination.

Division just as the growth starts in early spring is the quicker method - and sometimes more reliable than sowing seed. 

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