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Bowles’ Golden Grass Milium effusum 'Aureum'

Growing Bowles' Golden Grass: Tips at a Glance

With its vivid chartreuse foliage, Bowles' golden grass prefers partial to full shade to prevent leaf burn. A well-behaved, short-lived, clumping perennial grass, Milium effusum 'Aureum' like moist rich soil and is a vigorous, self-sowing cultivar of wood millet grass.

  • Type Grass
  • Lifespan Perennial
  • USDA Zones 5-9
  • Light Part or full shade
  • Water Likes it moist
  • Soil Rich, well-drained
  • How to Plant Self sows
  • Design Tip Chartreuse accent
  • Companions Muscari, crocus

Bowles’ Golden Grass: A Field Guide

Add light and movement to a shady, moist corner of the garden with well-behaved Bowles’ golden grass, a short-lived perennial that will self-sow to create more compact clumps next year.

A cultivar of wood millet grass named after the beloved British plantsman Edward Augustus Bowles, Milium effusum ‘Aureum’ earned a spot in many if the early 20th century’s fashionable, forward-thinking English gardens. Vita Sackville-West grew it at Sissinghurst Castle, where its cheery chartreuse color contrasted nicely in early spring against the purple hues of grape hyacinths and crocuses. (See more in 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst Castle.)

To achieve the greatest effect, “plant clumps of Bowles’ golden grass in groups of threes or fives as part of a woodland design or at the edge of a shady cottage border,” writes our contributor Kier Holmes.

Another secret weapon for a shady corner is a similar, variegated cultivar of wood millet grass: Milium effusum ‘Yaffle’, with striped yellow leaves, is a vigorous self sower. See more ideas in our curated garden design guides to Grasses 101.

Planting, Care & Design of Bowles' Golden Grass

More About Bowles' Golden Grass

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