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What is Pogonatherum?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2016
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Pogonatherum is a genus of grass in the Poaceae family. Shrub-like and non-flowering members of Poaceae are known as bamboos. Pogonatherum paniceum, the only species typically grown as a houseplant, belongs to this category and is popularly known as a miniature bamboo. Its thin grass-like leaves range from dark green to yellow-green in color and closely resemble bamboo foliage. As an indoor plant, it can reach a maximum height of 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm).

The shape and overall appearance of the miniature bamboo has qualified it as a foliage plant—a plant that is cultivated mainly for decorative functions. It can be grown indoors and out and can thrive in both warm and cold weather. The Chinese believe in the plant’s powers of attracting good fortune, which is why they often keep it inside their homes.

Pogonatherum plants are most abundant in southeast Asia. Waterfall edges and rocky banks in rural provinces are the plant’s natural habitat, where they can grow to heights as high as 30 inches (76 cm). Clusters of this type of grass can even completely surround small bodies of water such as ponds and lakes. In urban areas of Asia, borders of public gardens are lined with Pogonatherum plants while balconies of tall buildings are adorned with its overlapping clumps of foliage.

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When in cultivation, propagation of Pogonatherum plants is typically done through division. This process entails cutting off part of the root and stem and planting them in regular soil mix. A soil mixture of perlite, dark soil, and moist peat or humus makes up a healthy compost for this genus. Small amounts of lime on the soil’s surface are also recommended. When using pots, one should opt for pots with small holes to regulate the amount of water for the plant.

Temperature and humidity levels are important considerations when growing a Pogonatherum peniceum. One should keep the plant in temperatures of 60 to 85°F (16 to 29°C) for maximum growth. Medium humidity of 70 percent is also the most suitable condition for this houseplant.

As an ornamental plant, the miniature bamboo can be a source of recreation for plant enthusiasts. Indoor Zen gardens can be created with its natural Oriental facade, and it can provide a room with an alternative interior aesthetic. Pogonatherum plants are also used as an element for flower arrangements and table center pieces despite not having any blooms. The structure they form when fully grown makes them a regarded option for contemporary room decor.

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