Vanilla Sweet Grass is an aromatic, cool-season perennial growing 10-24” tall, blooming in June to July, and spreading about 2 feet per year by underground rhizomes. The natural range of Sweet Grass is Greenland to Alaska, south to New Jersey, the Midwest, and Arizona, in zones 3 to 7. Its natural habitat is wetlands, prairies, and savannas in wet to medium moisture soils.
A sacred grass in Native American ceremonies, Sweet Grass is braided and burned as a ‘smudge’ to purify body and soul and invite the presence of good spirits. The glossy green leaves have a pleasant vanilla fragrance. Because of its aggressive, rhizomatous nature it can be difficult to eliminate if it has spread to areas where it is not wanted.
Though Sweet Grass prefers rich, moist soils, it will grow in almost any soil that receives a minimum of a half day of sun. Sandy, well-drained sites will require mulch and watering during times of low rainfall. Add compost to sand or clay soils. The preferred pH range is 6 to 8.