Muhlenbergia rigens
Photo by Flickr user JKehoe_Photos

deer grass

This plant grows well in the following regions:

  • CVCentral Valley
  • DTDesert
  • NCNorth and Central Coast
  • SCSouth Coast
Map of regions (click to enlarge)
map of California regions



Native from California to Texas and south into Mexico. Bright green leaves form a dense clump to 4 ft tall and wide. In autumn, yellow to purplish flower spikes grow two feet above foliage. As opposed to invasive pampas grass, deer grass maintains a much more manageable size. Similar to Muhlebergia capillaris, deer grass is evergreen but foliage may die off with hard freezes.

Warm season grass. Extremely adaptable. Can grow in hot xeric gardens as a companion to other natives or Mediterranean plants or in occasionally to regularly irrigated meadow. Can tolerate seaside exposure. Called deer grass not because deer like to eat it, but because they like to lay on the mounds.

Sun needs:

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Water needs:

  • Medium water
  • Low water
Water needs information from WUCOLS unless otherwise noted