Cut the zebra grass correctly in the garden

Cut the zebra grass correctly in the garden

The pruning is very important with this plant

While some plants in the garden can certainly cut a good figure without caring and shaping pruning, the annual pruning for zebra grass is essential. Ultimately, the above-ground parts of this per se hardy plant die off over the winter and then no longer look aesthetically pleasing in spring. Old, dried-up stalks also interfere with new growth in zebra grass by shielding the sunlight from the new shoots. Apart from that, in contrast to some shrubs, the cut on this plant does not have a particularly stimulating effect on growth, since the parts of the plant to be removed are already dried, dead stems and leaves.

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Do not cut the zebra grass too early

Quite a few hobby gardeners make the mistake of cutting the zebra grass close to the ground in late autumn or at the beginning of winter in order to tidy up the garden before winter. But this is fatal because the dry leaves above the root ball:

  • Keeps out excess moisture
  • offers some protection from the winter cold
  • provides a winter habitat or nesting material for many animals (especially insects)

The zebra grass should therefore only be cut off just above the ground with sharp secateurs in spring. The best time to do this is when the first green new shoots appear on the plant base.

The late and somewhat more laborious pruning of the zebra grass

The zebra grass should not be cut too early, but you should not miss the ideal time for pruning either. If the new, green shoots have already grown up and into the dead material from the previous year, it may be necessary to laboriously cut out the dead stalks individually so as not to damage the new shoot.

Getting the zebra grass through the winter well

For aesthetic and practical reasons, the dry stalks of zebra grass should be tied together with a piece of string in clumps in autumn. In this way, they are not pushed apart by the snow and look much more decorative. While specimens in the garden bed usually get through the winter without any further protection, potted specimens on the balcony should be protected from the worst winter cold with some bubble wrap or other protective material.


In the case of zebra grass, the growth in size levels off by itself after a few years at the same location at a maximum height of around 1.60 meters. For the lateral limitation of the spread of this vigorous reed species, the installation of a rhizome barrier in the ground is fundamental. Otherwise, however, it is also possible in spring to easily cut off the lateral outgrowths of the zebra grass eyrie with a sharp spade and plant them again in another place. In this way, entire hedges or privacy screens made of zebra grass can be planted over a number of years.