Tiger Grass Problems and Care

Written By:
Scott Carroll
Published On:
July 27, 2023
Tiger Grass

Australia is home to some diverse and beautiful plants that cover a range of shapes and sizes to use as accent plants, screens, and hedges.

One unique plant that has gained popularity in home gardens is the Tiger Grass. 

Growing this hardy and beautiful plant is a great way to add diversity to your landscape, and we are excited to take the time to highlight this stunning Australian favourite.

Overview of Tiger Grass

Thysanolaena latifolia, the scientific name we use for Tiger Grass or Asian Broom Grass, is the only plant belonging to this genus. It is a unique plant and does not fit into any other classifications, so one was made just for it. 

The stem is round and solid. The leaves are heart-shaped with long leathery tapered leaves. The flowers are a red-brown colour. Fruits are small grain-like structures. It is not known for any medicinal value. It is valuable to landscapers, where it is used mainly as hedges and offers lush garden screening options

Its flowering panicles are used to make light dust brooms which are highly durable. The leaves can be used as wraps for cooking, and the tender buds are also edible.

Thysanolaena latifolia can reach sizes as large as 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate. 

  • Suitable for: Most soil types so long as they are well-drained. 
  • Suitable pH: Most pH ranges other than heavily acidic are acceptable.
  • Suitable soil: Moist and loose soils are ideal for this plant.
  • Suitable light: Partial shade to full sun is preferable.

Typical uses and benefits of Tiger Grass in Aussie gardens

For the best-looking garden, our team recommend using Tiger Grass for the following:

  • As an attractive feature plant in the garden
  • In groupings for hedges or screens
  • In a Thai or Balinese-style garden
  • Tropical garden accent and fillers
  • Large pots or container accents 
  • Background plantings in open areas

Some pros of tiger grass include:

  • Attractive looking foliage
  • Unique-looking flowers and foliage
  • Non-invasive bamboo alternative
  • Tolerant of neglect and very hardy 

Like all natural things, Tiger Grass does have some limitations when it comes to backyard maintenance. In particular, we find that Tiger Grass: 

  • Is faster growing than many other shrubs
  • Has a larger base and height
  • Runner offshoots can be an issue at times
  • Can sometimes take over the lawn and garden

If you find these issues, you can always manipulate the environment to control and effectively kill the Tiger Grass before it takes over your backyard space. 

Common problems with Tiger Grass

As popular as it is, our garden experts want to ensure your Tiger Grass stays healthy and beautiful with some helpful gardening tips. The three most common problems that we find with Tiger Grass include

  1. Inadequate watering
  2. Incorrect soil conditions
  3. Pests and diseases

Below, we’ll go through each of these, describing what the problem is and how it can affect your Tiger Grass from being its best. 

Common tiger grass problems

Problem 1: Inadequate watering

Watering too much can be just as bad as not watering enough. Tiger Grass needs to have moist and well-drained soil. Underwatering can lead to dry and crispy leaves and stunted growth. Overwatering usually leads to yellowing leaves and root and stem rot issues due to excess moisture. Watering every few days as the top few inches of soil dry out and draining the soil well will help improve watering results. 

Problem 2: Incorrect soil conditions

Soil is important for all plants, and Tiger Grass is no exception. This beautiful plant grows best in soil with a high level of organic matter and is well-drained. If the soil is wrong, the plant cannot get the nutrients it needs and will have stunted growth, dull-coloured leaves, and poor overall vigour. Adding organic matter and making sure the pH levels and other elements are there to ensure proper healthy growth. 

Problem 3: Pests and diseases

Tiger Grass is hardy and easy to grow. It has minimal pest problems when given the right conditions for healthy, sustained growth. This is why ensure proper light, soil and water conditions are maintained. When the plant is healthy, it resists most pests and diseases. 

This is why it is so popular in Australian gardens, and professional landscapers use it. Proper care is key to keeping it looking its best. 

How to prevent problems with tiger grass

Tiger Grass is a beautiful and versatile ornamental grass often used in landscapes across the continent. Keeping it looking full and healthy, and beautiful takes some care and attention to important care details. Here are some tips our team of plant experts recommend to keep your Tiger Grass looking its best all year round:

  • Planting location: Make sure the spot you choose has the right sun exposure, soil type, and space necessary for healthy growth. 
  • Watering: These are natural drought-tolerant and hardy plants, but they will sometimes need watering if dry spells last too long.
  • Pruning: Regular pruning helps the grass maintain its shape and also helps remove die-back to keep the plant healthy.
  • Fertilisation: Tiger Grass needs rich soil organic matter and can benefit from slow-release fertiliser applications. 
  • Pest and disease: Monitoring your Tiger Grass will ensure you detect problems early on so you can work to address the issue. 
  • Mulching: Using mulch around planting can help maintain moisture levels, block weed growth, and keep plants healthy. 
  • Spacing: Crowded plants are more susceptible to problems, so you must be sure each plant has enough space to grow properly.

By following these preventive measures, you can keep your Tiger Grass looking healthy, vibrant, and free from common problems, ensuring it remains an attractive addition to your garden.

Tiger Grass maintenance FAQs

How often should I water my Tiger Grass?

A good rule of thumb for watering is to wait till the top 3-4 inches of soil is dry before watering. Also, be sure to water deeply so the roots go down into the soil after the water and don’t stay shallow and near the soil surface.

What type of soil does Tiger Grass prefer?

The best soil is a mix of organic matter, dirt, and draining material. You will want a container with holes for good drainage with potted plants. You can mulch your plants in the landscape to help maintain moisture and organic matter levels.

Can Tiger Grass survive in cold weather?

Tiger Grass is hardy and grows well with minimal care or concern in most of Australia’s zones. The one thing it cannot tolerate is colder temperatures, and it needs to be grown in a pot that can be brought inside during cold weather. 

How often should I fertilise my Tiger Grass?

You can add a slow-release fertiliser to your planting at the start of the active growing season. You can also use a diluted liquid fertiliser every few months to give your plants a boost of nutrients that will keep them healthy and beautiful.