Leymus ‘Canyon Prince’ likely only rivals Muhlenbergia rigens in popularity among the California native grasses. It is a greyish blue foliage selection of the typically green form of Leymus condenstatus and is more dwarf than most of the green forms, staying 2-3’ in height. It was selected and introduced by Dara Emery at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden as an exceptionally garden friendly native grass. It is easily established and can form dense, spreading clumps to 3-4 feet or more. Be careful, as in some areas it can spread quite vigorously and overtake other plants in the landscape. It is drought tolerant like the species but does show signs of stress if it is pushed too far. Thankfully though, unlike many natives, it can tolerate summer water to keep it looking fresh all year. It performs best with a hard pruning every few years to refresh the growth.
Unfortunately, in recent years, the industry has been flooded with incorrect plants being sold as Leymus Canyon Prince, including the non-native L. arenarius Glauca and a form of Elymus glaucus that looked quite similar to Canyon Prince. This caused a widespread mixing of good and bad stock industry wide. Thankfully, we are confident we have solid, correct, stock material on this cultivar.
Finally, Leymus condensatus ‘Canyon Prince’ has become ubiquitous with Leymus condensatus with many plans we see specifying Leymus condensatus when Canyon Prince is desired. Although Leymus condensatus can be attractive in its own right, it is not typically used in residential or commercial landscapes and most commonly is used in restoration / mitigation. And to add to the confusion, the nomenclature continues to go back and forth between Leymus / Elymus depending on the treatment.
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