Dear Plant Nerd – Is there a native plant like Giant Bamboo for my Sonoran Desert yard?
Posted Jul 15, 2022
Yes! Let me tell you about a native grass that looks like a tiny bamboo.
Meet bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa) native to Arizona, south into Mexico. This graceful plant grows to about 3 feet tall and eventually gets about 4-5 feet wide. Stems somewhat resemble bamboo, and tips of stems are lacy and wispy forming a billowy canopy. This is a nice, soft texture to add to the sometimes prickly landscape. Bamboo muhly looks incredible near large boulders.
Plant in full sun to filtered shade. Plants take moderate water and if they get rangy, sheer to a few inches from the ground. Hardy to about 0º F. Larval food host for Orange skipperling (Copaeodes aurantiaca) and Cestus skipper (Atrytonopsis cestus). Great plant for tortoise enclosures (they like to hang out in the shade of this plant and they eat the foliage).
JARED MCKINLEY, SPADEFOOT NURSERY, RETAIL LOCATION, 2831 East Broadway Boulevard, Tucson