How to Bleach Pampas Gras

  • Pampas grass is native to South America. However, it has spread through all continents in the ’70s. Since then, it has been known globally as a low-maintenance ornamental grass.
  • These charming grasses quickly found their way into home decor and nowadays appear in our households more and more often. Natural foraged foliage is 5 – 10′ tall and has a calming vibe hard to find in any other dry grasses. Fancy pampas grass’s feathery plumes live up to three years in the vase.
  • Since pampas grass is currently the number one trending wedding flower on social media, many people ask how to bleach pampas grass. We’re tackling the issue in the article below.

What is pampas grass?

Pampas grass, also known as Cortaderia, is an appealing ornamental grass. Other names used to call pampas grass are silver pampas grass, tussock grass, cortadera, paina, and pluma;

This decorative ornamental grass features tall stalks and pampas grass reeds. The stems of the dried pampas grass are popular for wedding centerpieces and bouquet arrangements. 

Pampas gras plants come in 25 species, doing well in various environments, making them popular in many landscapes. 

It will take a couple of years for new pampas gras plants to flower.

Pampas grass plants become fully grown in 2-4 years—this is the time needed to go from seed germination to maturity. 

Don’t be discouraged when you notice that the center stems of pampas grass die after one growing season. Instead, new shoots of leaves arise from the edge of the plant to increase its size. 

All in all, the lifespan of pampas grass is 10-15 years.

Pampas grass needs rich and moist soil to grow. It’s best if it’s also well-drained. 

It’s a good idea to till and add a balanced fertilizer or mulch to your garden or add quartz sand to assist with drainage. 

Although pampas grass is relatively easy to grow, don’t rush to plant it around your garden, only because it looks gorgeous. These weeds can outsmart you pretty fast!

This self-sowing plant can spread via traveling roots, and it gets around quickly. So be careful not to let it overtake your garden! 

Pampas gras embraces a wide variety of growing conditions and increases in size and width with startling rapidity.

Important: In Texas and California, pampas grasses are declared invasive species and noxious weeds (they’re far too easy to grow). These grasses are banned in Hawaii and New Zealand. 

Also, if you need only a couple of dry grass piece lots, you don’t have to seed them. Instead, you can simply buy them at the store, for instance, at Luxe B Pampas Grass—a Canadian brand established in California that shares their love for interior design, curating a collection of pieces imported from all over the world.   

Tip: Before engaging in planting pampas grass, read this guide tackling the subject of planting and caring about pampas grass on Gardening Know How.  

Pampas grass bears male and female flowers on separate plants. 

  • the female pampas plumes are the fluffiest kind; they are broad and full—silky hairs cover their tiny flowers; they are showier than the male ones; 
  • male plants lack silky hairs on their flowers;

There are three different varieties of pampas grass planted today:

  • Aureolineata (Cortaderia selloana) or Gold band pamper grass,
  • Andes silver, and
  • Silver comet,

but you can also come across Albolineata (Silver Stripe), Pumila (Dwarf Pampas Grass), Sunningdale Silver pamper grass, Splendid star, Monvin, Patagonia, and Cortadera jubata; (read more on Buhweng

These gracious pampas gras plants are excellent as part of the interior design.

Other dry grasses often found as an interior design detail are Lagurus Ovatus, commonly called Hare’s-tail grass or bunny tails grass. It’s an annual grass of the Poaceae family, native to the Mediterranean region. It’s cultivated as an ornamental and is often used in dried bouquets. 

Another dry grass is Baby’s Breath, also known as gypsophila, gyp, and Gypsophila elegans. It’s a popular cut and dried flower. 

Baby’s breath is easy to grow at home or in the garden from seed. 

It also acts as a living, flowering mulch, preventing weeds from taking over when other plants are past their peak. Baby’s Breath name derives from the fact that we traditionally use it as a unique baby shower gift.

If you are wondering how to customize your living room with the minimum effort, go for dry grasses—they do a great job in an instant!

So, how to make use of pampas grass? 

There are several ways to utilize these high-quality dry grasses:

  • as a hedge—thanks to the razor-sharp leaves and stiff stems,
  • as a decoration―for a personalized interior design,
  • as an ornamental plant―thanks to its large plume-like flowers (check out youtube videos or google company website for inspiring ideas);

Pampas grass has a particular cultural meaning. 

Not many of us know—although some of us may have experienced it firsthand—that the pampas grass put in your front garden is a calling card for swinging!

So what was once a casual plant, gently moved by the wind in front of your house, now attracts strangers who can’t help but wink when passing by your front door!

Pampas enthusiasts deny the plant’s association with swinging and call it a myth. 

Pampas grass maintenance

If you have pampas grass plants in your garden and want to use them for interior design, simply cut the fluffy plumes and add them to dried floral arrangements or put them in the empty vase.

You can also buy dried flowers at the store or online. 

Tip: Select tall and robust plants with fluffy beauty plumes. It’s an excellent hack to ask a vendor whether your grass has been treated for minimizing shedding.

A single sharp leaf or blade of ornamental pampas grass color ranges from deep green to variegated green and yellow. It typically has a neutral and light tint.

A cut pampas grass needs to be cared about and conditioned. Otherwise, it can shed. 

We widely used these plants as ornamental plants because of their lush, green foliage and beautiful plumes. Some say they resemble a fountain of feathers cascading from a high point. 

You’ll be amazed by these large clumps of lush, grass-like foliage and creamy white feathery plumes of pampas grass. Mind that pink varieties are also available! 

To provide more personalized color to your fluffy plumes, you’ll have to dye pampas grass yourself.

Once you cut pampas grass, it can last for about three years as part of your interior design.

What should you do to maintain your pampas gras in good shape? 

Simply fluff it up gently when it needs it and re-hairspray it with a high-hold hairspray every now and then. 

You can even gently use a hairdryer on it to fluff it up a bit. 

Let’s have a little pampas gras styling lesson below:

1. take a plume and style it to perfection by hand,

2. grab a high-hold hairspray and give your pampas grass a misting,

3. now, you can admire your favorite ornamental grass refreshed;

Dying pampas grass

Pampas is drought tolerant grass with a natural air of elegance.

To use pampas as a part of your interior design, you’ll have to dry and cut it first.

Dry pampas grass in a 4-step process:

1. Gather a handful of pampas grass and cut off the bottom inch of the stems with scissors.

2. Place your grasses on a wire or string hanger to dry out.

3. Find a warm but not hot area. Place your hanger in an open location with good airflow.

4. Wait about two weeks, occasionally checking on your hangers. After that time, your pampas grass will be ready to use!

Tip: Cut the stalks as close as possible to the ground. They can also be used as a filler in flower arrangements. 

Drying pampas grass is easy, but remember to do it outside in the shade or under shelter if the weather is hot or humid.

When you have dry, cut grass, you can start thinking about giving your decoration the desired shape, texture, and color.

You can dye all or some of your pampas grass feathers to make them unique.

As a rule of thumb, all dried pampas grass stems can be dyed. Yet, it’s best to use stems with light-hued plumes so they soak in the shade of the dye more easily.

There are several ways to dye your fluffy beauty. 

Let’s go through some popular techniques.

Chlorine bleach

How to bleach pampas grass? The most popular way for bleached pampas grass effect is with the popular chlorine bleach.

Tip: You can use this method also with other dry grasses, such as foxtails or bunny tails.

Here’s how to put this idea into practice:

1. Get a gallon of chlorine bleach.

2. Lay down the branches of pampas gras leaves flat in a container.

3. Fill the container with the mix of 1/2 cold water to 1/2 bleach.

4. Place the cover on top of a deep bucket, but don’t seal it.

Important: Keep children and pets away when you bleach pampas gras.

When the plumes become nice light, pour in a gallon of cool, clear water to make the bleach diluted.

Now, take pampas grass out and dry in the sun, if you want it to turn very light. 

So, first, use chemical bleaching, and then put it out to the natural sunlight.

Otherwise, you can try a little more complex method to lighten pampas grass, also with bleach.

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups of water,
  • 1 cup of laundry bleach,
  • a deep bucket,
  • a stick to stir,
  • some painters tape, and
  • a hairdryer;

First off, fill a bucket with warm water and add laundry bleach. 

Important: Always be careful with bleach and wear gloves when you use it. Bleach can be dangerous for human skin. 

Use any stick to stir your mixture and submerge grasses. Hold them down with tape along the edges to ensure they don’t float up.

Leave it for a few hours, constantly monitoring the situation. Since there are various types of grasses, the time needed to bleach will depend on an individual piece.  

Once you achieve the desired color, bring your pampas over to a sink.

Now you can blow dry your grass in the direction of growth until it gets almost completely dry. 

Leave your grass like this, or start looking for fabric dyes to experiment with colors!

Food coloring

One method to dye pampas grass is by dissolving food coloring in water and spraying them.  

The food coloring technique is safe for fabrics and human skin. 

Tip: You can watch YouTube videos with tips on making most of your fluffy beauty. 

To dye your pampas grass with the food coloring technique:

  • pour water in the bottle with the nozzle on fine mist,
  • dissolve food coloring in the water,
  • take your mixture and spray the pampas grass;

Otherwise, take a container or a bucket, pour in water and food coloring, and place grass in it to the desired length.

Let it sit until it gets the color you want. 

Tip: For pastel colors, submerge your grasses just a bit. Barely dipping them in the solution will be enough for the light tint.

Remove the pampas gently from the dye solution and hang each piece upside down to dry thoroughly. 

To keep grasses from falling apart or further seeding, you can lightly spray them with extra hold hairspray.

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Frequently Asked Questions

It's right to be careful when choosing plants to keep in your house, yard, or garden. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ASPCA, pampas gras isn't toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Yet, ingesting any type of plants can cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting in animals.
Pampas grass cost varies. It starts at approximately $20 per 5 pieces of these plants.
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