Plant of the Season – Bana Grass
This clumping, vertical, fast growing, large grass species is often confused with the running and very invasive Elephant Grass seen in waterways and old blocks in Perth. Bana grass by comparison is clumping and sets very little seed so is easily managed.
Bana Grass is one of the best ways to grow your own mulch/carbon on small urban properties in Perth. It is a winter active fast grower, which is important as we get most benefit growing these mulch and green manure plants when there is free rain and sunlight.
Uses The primary use will be as a carbon source for mulching or composting. For those with rabbits, goats or other livestock this is an extremely palatable fodder when harvested or grazed young and leafy. The grass can reach 5 meters when competing for light so consider it as a narrow vertical screen for fence lines, or a summer shade for building walls. It offers the versatility to allow a screen or to be cut to ground level when vision, breeze or sun is desired. Longer 3 meter stalks can be planted under mulch/in soil flat in lines to create on contour vegetation lines, or if planted in double rows it can be used to create chicken runs at a stem spacing of 10cm.
Harvest Cut/slash every 2 months for leafy product or leave for 3-4 months to create 2-3m tall stalks. Wear long cloths to protect skin folds from itchy fine hairs or shower if affected.
Propagation 3 month old (firm bamboo like) stalks are used to vegetatively propagate Bana Grass, 2-3 nodules of the stalk will grow a new plant.
Where to Buy/Source it?
As this is a ‘permie plant’ not many nurseries stock it only crazy ecologically minded people want it and there is no money in that. Head to your nearest local permie group, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can pass your details on the a local local to give you some.
Vicki Boxell, Edible and Useful Plants for the Swan Coastal Plain