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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
BLUE OAT GRASS
Pronounced: he-lik-TO-tri-kon sem-per-VI-rens
Central and southwest Europe.
Sunset zones: 1-12, 14-24.
USDA zones: 4-9.
Heat zones: 9-1.
Height: 24 inches (60 cm).
Width: 36 inches (90 cm).
Straw colored flowers held above the foliage.
Full sun to partial shade.
Sow fresh seed and keep at 64-71°F (18-22°C) temperatures for 2-4 weeks; then place in cold frame to over winter, or move to where temperatures can be kept at 24-39°F (-4 to +4°C) for 4-6 weeks. Finally place in temperatures at 41-53°F (5-12°C) where they will begin to germinate.
Divide in spring.
Run a rake through the grass in late winter to pull out old grass.
Pests and Diseases:
Crown rot may occur in poorly drained soils.
Rainy Side Notes
Blue oat grass is an evergreen, cool season grass that thrives in our cool, maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest. A native to the western Mediterranean, this plant is very drought tolerant. The roots will rot if drainage is poor.
The name Helictotrichon comes from the Greek words helix meaning spiral and trichos meaning hair. In 1993, Blue oat grass won the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. It is definitely a winner for the maritime Pacific Northwest garden. All Helictotrichon sempervirens were selected for Great Plant Picks in 2004.
Photographed in author's garden.