beargrass - xerophyllum tenax

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by stevej, Jun 12, 2003.

  1. stevej

    stevej Member

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    What kind of soil is suitable for this plant? Does it prefer a lean or heavy soil, dry or moist? Any cultivation recommendations would be helpful.

  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Thanks for the question -

    According to Arthur R. Kruckeberg in his book, "Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest," Xerophyllum tenax is best grown on well-drained and partially open slopes.

    This correlates well with the typical habitat of the plant in the wild: dry to mesic coniferous forests, glades, meadows and clearings in the montane and subalpine zones (source: Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, volume 7)

    I would emulate the soils of the montane and subalpine zones as best I could: medium textured soil on the sandy side for drainage and slightly acidic to emulate conifer-needle fall.

    For those who are interested, although the common name of the plant is bear-grass, it is actually a member of the lily family, which is revealed when it flowers profusely on up to 1m tall stalks.

    Kruckeberg mentions that in the wild, it is "shy of flowering" in Washington state, except the year after a fire, in which every clump produces a mass of white flowers.

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