Anemanthele lessoniana: the Pheasant’s tail grass

Anamanthele lessoniana is a beautiful clump forming ornamental grass with a nice upright habit.

Its leaves are a mixture of green and bronze, turning red and orange in summer and autumn. It generally prefers full sun, but can take some shade, although, in my experience, the colouring is less fiery in shade.

Small feathery red sprays of flowers appear in summer, creating a hazy effect above the plant.

Anemanthele lessoniana: garden uses

Anemanthele lessoniana works well in many different settings, as a specimen plant, punctuating a border, or in block of several plants together. It provides fantastic year round interest and is easy to maintain – just comb out dead or damaged leaves in Spring. Goes well with contrasting foliage ground cover plants, like hardy geranium Johnson’s Blue.

Growing Notes

It is best not to cut the plant back to ground level, although it can be cut back by about half to tidy it up. However, only prune in this way in Spring and Summer, when it will regrow quickly, not in Autumn or winter.

Anemanthele lessoniana can be a fairly short lived plant (3-5) years, but it can be propagated by division and it will self-seed, so self sown seedlings can be harvested for new plants.

If dividing the plant, do so in spring or summer so that the roots have enough time to recover and grown

Plant notes: Anemanthele lessoniana

Common name: Pheasant’s tail grass, Pheasant Grass

Synonyms: Stipa Arundinacea, Oryzopsis lessoniana


The genus Anamanthele is in the Poaceae (grass) family.

Plant Type

Semi-evergreen perennial grass with a clump forming habit.

Soil Type

Prefers medium to light well-drained soil that is moderately fertile. Will tolerate heavier soils

read more on soil type here →


Performs at its best in full sun, but will grow in partial shade. Will tolerate exposed or windy sites.

Eventual Size

Height: 0.5 to 1m (1.5 to 3.3 feet)

Spread: 1 to 1.5 m. (3.3 to 5 feet)


Hardy to -10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) at its limits. Comfortably hardy at -5 degrees C (23F).

read more on plant hardiness here →

Plant calendar: Anemanthele lessoniana

Sow seeds: Feb, March, April

Plant Out: April, May, June

Flowers: July, Aug, Sep.

anamanthele lessoniana
Young Anemanthele lessoniana awaiting planting out.
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