Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Meet the Natives: Muhly Grass

February 7, 2023

Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is a tough native grass that’s proven its resilience across the island after Hurricane Ian. This hardy grass can handle a variety of growing conditions but performs best when planted in areas with full sun and dry to moist soils.

It can be grown in a wide range of soil types, and tolerates drought, salt, and short periods of inundation. The native range of muhly grass extends throughout the southeastern U.S. and it can naturally be found in the coastal uplands and pine flatwood habitats of Florida.

This perennial grass reaches up to 3 feet tall and produces flower stalks that extend above the fine textured, dark green foliage in the fall and early winter. An exciting indicator of the arrival of cooler weather is the emergence of muhly grass flowers.

These wispy, reddish-purple flowers provide striking fall color when planted singly or in large groups. Its clumping habit provides cover for wildlife and birds eat the tiny seeds it produces during the fall and winter months.

SCCF’s Native Landscapes & Garden Center is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at 1300 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL.  Learn about more survivor species in our Post-Hurricane Ian Replanting Guide.


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