Knoll Gardens recently introduced 2 litre batches of Melica uniflora Alba to its nursery availability. It has taken the team a while to fathom out the best way to grow this early season grass with its dainty white flowers and contrasting fresh green foliage; we find out why it has proved so challenging and what is so special about this graceful grass:
Why has growing Melica in pots been so difficult?
It is a dry soil specialist and we think that basically the nursery compost and conditions were simply too rich for it to be happy.
Were you able to get any ideas/assistance from other growers – or has this particular grass challenged everyone?
Not really, as we looked around it was seldom, if ever, offered for sale and certainly not in quantity, which kind of suggests others were having the same issue.
What was involved in cultivating/separating this particular plant?
Almost nothing! We simply lifted some plants from the garden, put them in pots and left them to it…
Have the trials and tribulations of cultivating Melica taught you anything that you didn’t already know?
More accurately it has been a reminder that the trick to growing plants, whether on a nursery or in a garden, is to provide the right conditions for the plant to be happy.
How is Melica best used in a garden or planting scheme and what does it work best alongside?
It loves dry soils and various degrees of shade so it does very well in many parts of the garden under or in close proximity to larger shrubs and trees. Like any spring flowering plant it works almost wherever it grows; in association with some spring flowering azaleas for example or alongside Epimediums which also revel in the dry shade.