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This not that: If you love pampas grass, why not try these local alternative ornamental grasses?

We’ve rounded up some fun alternatives, if you tend to gravitate towards this decor item

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By Alyxandra Carolus | January 27, 2023 | Gardens

South Africa is home to some incredible biodiversity and we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing beautiful blooms, trees and plants. If you consume any form of media, it’s easy to pick up when there’s a particular trend. Pampas grass is an ornamental grass that’s been all over social media, but the grass is considered an invasive weed in South Africa and not recommended for planting in your garden or backyard.

But if you love the look and height of pampas grass, what’s a viable alternative? We’ve rounded up some ideas for your space using local ornamentals in your gardens or dried versions in your home.


If you enjoy the muted beige tones of pampas grass in your home, you can always swop it out for some dried wheat. This plant is easily available (especially the fake ones!) and doesn’t require any upkeep. You can still get the height, colour and relative shape that pampas grass provides

Horsetail restio

Wanting some height and greenery for your garden? South Africa has a host of ornamental grasses that aren’t invasive or harmful to the environment. One of them being the horsetail restio aka Elegia capensis, a indigenous grass that offers the same height and reed-like structure like pampas grass. The best part? This plant is a food source to local bee populations.

Natural palm fronds

Still want to make a statement in your home? Palm leaves are plentiful, relatively easy to dry out and add the similar height, texture and colours like pampas grass. And if you’re up for it - you can make palm fronds out of paper (in the colour of your choice!)