From:Caribou, ME Region: Northeast Topic: Non-Natives Title: Alternatives to non-native, invasive Pampa grass Answered by: Joe Marcus
Could you please tell me if Cortaderia Selloana is "zone 4" hardy? Also how to start Opuntia Humifusa from cuttings? Do I let them stand upright dry and with no soil until they form the callous? Please help! Thank You So Much! Janet
Most references give USDA cold-hardiness zones 6 or 7 as the northern limit for Cortaderia selloana, Pampas grass. It might survive in your area if located in a protected spot, but it might be just as well for you if it won't. Many people who plant this South American native in their gardens end up regretting doing so because of its legendary aggressiveness - it tends to resist all efforts to control its relentless expansion.
You might consider some native alternatives which would be perfectly suited to your climate and are much less likely to cause headaches later on. Some possibilities are Switchgrass, Panicum virgatum; Indiangrass, Sorghastrum nutans and Canada wild rye, Elymus canadensis. All are stately grasses native to Maine.
The cactus you are asking about, Opuntia humifusa, Eastern prickly-pear is not native to your area either, and will likely need winter protection. They are easy to propagate, though. Just let the wound caused by seperating the pads dry for a few days and then insert the severed end in evenly moist, well-drained media. It should root within a few weeks. Here is a link to a great web page on cactus propagation which goes into more detail.
More Non-Natives Questions
Care of non-native Betula pendula 'Youngii' (Young's Weeping Birch) June 04, 2009 - We planted a Young's Weeping Birch on the side of our house here in NJ a few weeks ago and it seems to be thriving. When we purchased Fred (which is what we've named our youngster), he was in a pot ... view the full question and answer
Oak leaf fall causing ivy damage August 28, 2007 - I read the A/Q in the Austin American-Statesman Saturday, August 25, regarding the leaves falling now from the live oaks. I am experiencing the same thing, but it is the leaves of my post oaks that a... view the full question and answer
Smarty Plants on Kokias January 27, 2005 - I am searching for seeds of different Kokias (Kokia cookei, K. drynariodes and K. kauaiensis) and Thespesias (Thespesia grandiflora, T. thespesioides, T. nerifolia and T. popul... view the full question and answer
Cotton plant for yard in Plano July 27, 2008 - I wish to plant a specimen cotton plant in my yard - will it grow in Plano, Texas, do you have any tips for maintaining them, and will they survive freezing temperatures? view the full question and answer
Turf for high-traffic area in Austin April 21, 2012 - I am building a large soccer field at my preschool in Austin, TX in a full sun area. What type of grass would be best for me to use given that it will be a very high-traffic area with lots of direct ... view the full question and answer