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Variegated tuber oat grass

Cultivar Variegatum has striped leaves.

This species is not usually sold except as the cultivar 'Variegatum' which has striped leaves.  This cultivar is a low-growing, non-native grass.

Botanical name:

Arrhenatherum elatius var. bulbosum 'Variegatum'

All Common Names:

Variegated tuber oat grass, variegated bulbous oat grass, variegated orchard grass

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Grass,
  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Medium plant (12-24 inches),
  • Small plant (6-12 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Clay soil

Season of Interest:

  • Mid spring,
  • Late spring,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall,
  • Late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Other

Shape or Form:

  • Creeping,
  • Mounded

More Information:

Size and Form

In leaf, this plant grows 6 to 12 inches tall.  When the flower stalks are produced,the plant's height may increase another 6 to 12 inches.  Overall form is mounded, but the plant will spread out a little.

Plant Care

This cool season grass does best in partial shade.  Heat and full sun can burn the foliage and force the plant into dormancy for summer.
Provide an adequate water supply to keep this plant growing well in summer.  New growth will appear in both spring and fall.
This is a cool season grass, so its most active growth occurs in spring and fall.  It will be semi-evergreen in winter and can act as winter interest.
Since this grass remains semi-evergreen through winter, it should not be cut back until early spring, before new growth begins.  At that time, it can be cut down to the ground if needed or simply trimmed to remove winter damage.

Disease, pests, and problems

Rust is a potential problem.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe.

Leaf description

The slender leaves have very white stripes running through them.  From a distance the plant may appear almost white.

Flower description

Flowers are generally produced only in cooler, northern climates.  Tiny flowers on a long stalk.  relatively inconspicuous and provide only a mild ornamental interest.

Fruit description

Small fruits (caryopsis or grain) provide very little interest.



Location of Arrhenatherum elatius var. bulbosum 'Variegatum' (Variegated tuber oat grass) at the Arboretum

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.