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Deer Grass

Muhlenbergia rigens

Out of stock

1 gallon ; 5 gallon

Plant Care

Native region:

Local Native

Water needs:



Mature size:

Growth rate:

Full Sun; Part Shade; Full Shade



Flower color:

Flower season:



Spring - Summer

Cut back in Fall if plant becomes too unruly




Nectar pollinators:


Nighttime pollinators:


Rabbit resistant:


Deergrass is one of the most beautiful and probably the easiest to grow of all the native California bunchgrasses, typically reaching mature size in one or two years. It prefers sandy or gravelly soils, but will tolerate almost any soil as long as it's well drained. It prefers full sun or part shade, but handles full shade reasonably well - it just grows more slowly.
A robust, perennial bunchgrass, grows 3-5 ft. high, with narrow, 2 ft. plumes rising above light-green blades. The plant resembles a small pampas grass. Use it in dry stream beds, along driveways or along the street edge to slow the runoff. It is a great grass used in mass for height in a natural meadow or as a specimen used sparingly with native shrubs and is great natural habitat for attracting birds and butterflies into the garden. Deergrass is a substitute for the invasive Fountain Grass, Pennisetum setaceum.
The common name Deergrass is not because the plant is a preferred browse plant but because deer like to lay on the mounds. The long plumes were used by many Native American tribes for basketry and the seeds ground food.

Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information

The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others! 


Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.


Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.

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