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Helictotrichon sempervirens - Avena candida - The Blue Oat Grass

Helictotrichon sempervirens is an evergreen grass, with a dense tussock of green grey foliage, from which the with long stems of flowers emerge in early to mid summer. The flowers and resultant seedheads stand erect but with a somewhat arching habit at the tips..

Helictotrichon is well suited to growing in dry areas and is best displayed as an 'un-crowded- specimen grass, so that the foliage head and flower spikes can be appreciated best. Full sun is the best option, but this grass is also happy in dappled shade.

Helictotrichon sempervirens - Blue Oat GrassThe Blue Oat Grass prefers a dry soil, full sunshine, and a non-crowded position for best effect. Over time it can form a clump of 1 metre across. It is suitable for inclusion in perennial border - where the blue foliage makes for a good contrast to most perennials in autumn.

A shrub border planting that includes the Helictotrichon will be the better for its inclusion. It has shape and form, different to traditional shrub shapes. Autumn is a time to consider for the foliage colour of blue. Again, it contrasts or co9mpliments most of the autumn colours to be found in shrub borders.

Helictotrichon makes a stunning container pot plant on a large patio. It will form an area of interest for a long period starting early summer through to the midwinter. Plant it in a tall container, with shorter plants and containers surrounding it for a great effect.

Propagation of Helictotrichon sempervirens....

.... is easy. It can either be grown from seed or divided. Whichever method is chosen, early to mid spring is the best time.

Sow seeds in a seed tray in cold glasshouse or coldframe, and grow the seedlings in a suitable plant pot - 6in - for the next year before planting it out in its permanent place the following spring. 3 or 4 seedlings to a pot gives the largest plant in the shortest time.

Division of Helictotrichon sempervirens is carried out just as the growth starts in early spring. Lift the whole plant and slick into divisions with a sharp spade. If this seems too drastic, you can try to prise the root system apart. The divisions will soon grow into mature plants such as in the image above.

Problems with Helictotrichon...

No pest or disease problems other than the possibility of leaf rust. This can soon be controlled with a general or copper fungicide. Friends will probably want one as well!!


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