What is pampas grass?

What is pampas grass?

You've seen it on Instagram, you've seen it in magazines & you've seen it all over Kim Kardashians' last birthday party. Yes, you guessed it - Pampas Grass. 
Pampas Grass has seen a revival in popularity in the past couple of years, stemming largely from the Boho style that swept across interior trends and wedding themes. From wedding aisles to living room corners, Pampas Grass has come a long way since its 1970's origination as 'Swinger's Grass.' (We'll get to that later!) So, what is Pampas Grass?
 

Pampas Variations

Though Pampas grass is known by this common name, in the plant world it is known as Cortaderia Selloana. There are various species of this plant in particular, which is why they are loosely referred to as Pampas grass. Each species is known for subtle variations, making it easy to be confused by the variety of reeds being sold as Pampas grass on the market. 
Just make sure, when you're buying your Pampas Grass, you aren't being sold a knock-off like Cortaderia Jubata which is actually a weed! If you think you're getting a good deal on some Pampas Grass, you may just be getting sold a fake!

Masquerading as Pampas Grass...

Jubata

Jubata stems are generally twice as long or more as Selloana with plumes that are deep violet when immature and turn pinkish or tawny cream-white at maturity.
Image shows plumes of cortaderia Jubata which is a weed version of Pampas Grass. It is purple in immaturity and turns beige when fully grown
Some other variants that are often mis-advertised as Pampas Grass include;
Images shows natural stems of Pampas Reeds

Pampas Reeds

Pampas Reeds, which are thin stems without the billowy texture - these are usually between 60-80cm tall and look better as a tabletop display.
 
Chinese Silver Grass growing in nature

Silver Grass

Silver Grass, which is a different type of grass, it's got a silvery/grey colour to it and thin feathery plumes that drape quite beautifully.
Arundo Plumero - an alternative reed grass to pampas grass
Arundo Plumero
Arundo Plumero - this is still a reed style of grass. It can be as tall as Pampas Grass but not as billowy and fluffy. 
 
Whilst all three of these are beautiful displays in their own right - just keep an eye out for any companies trying to pass these as true Pampas Grass or Cortaderia Selloana.
Where is your Pampas Grass from? 
Before buying your Pampas Grass, it's smart to ask where your plumes have been grown. The quality of your Pampas Grass will ultimately come down to the quality in which it has been grown. 
If you've ordered cheaply off of the internet before, it's likely you'll have received stems that have shed all over the living room and every time the wind blows you get a snowstorm of pampas feathers on your sofa - sound familiar? 
Unfortunately, a lot of companies have noticed the trend of Pampas Grass and have rushed to mass produce these stems, taking little care of the process and resulting in dry, brittle plumes. 
Everyone wants that fluffy, cloud-like textured Pampas Grass, so it's worth shopping around. 
Fluffy tall plumes of pampas grass in a light beige
 
We're very proud of the suppliers we work with on our Pampas Grass. With over 30 years of experience growing, drying and caring for dried flowers and grasses, they've developed unique techniques that set their quality apart from the rest of the market. 
So, wtf, why is Pampas Grass called Swinger's Grass?
Legend has it, that back in the 70s, planting Pampas Grass in your front garden was a secret signal that you and your partner were swingers. It's thought that should you knock and be invited for dinner the general protocol would be to partner swap that night!  
The secret came out a few years ago and sales of Pampas Grass plummeted across Garden Centres as confused gardeners feared what their neighbours might think!  (Think how mortifying this was for me when I realised we grew it outside our family home!)
Nowadays, the plumes take on new meaning and I think we're all okay to embrace it's traditions and display it inside our homes instead! 
large fluffy display of over 30 stems of tall pampas grass in a living room
 
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