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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Species dependent

Latin Name: Miscanthus spps

Plant Family: Poaceae

Close Relatives: N/A

Uses and Markets: Industrial: (fibre, biocomposites, paper, bioenergy), bedding

Three year old miscanthus plants standing approximately 2.5 m tall.Three year old miscanthus stems


Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone

2-7 (variety dependent).

Special Notes

Miscanthus is a perennial C4 rhizomatous grass originating from Asia.  Varieties range in their frost tolerance and winter hardiness, so proper variety selection for particular growing regions is important.

Propagation method

Rhizomes, transplants.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

4-8 weeks prior to field planting.

Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates

Mid-April to May, after danger of frost has passed.

In-Row Spacing

Between row spacing

0.9m (~12000 plants/ha).

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions.  Ontario research trials are showing a response to N applied annually at levels as high as 160 kg/ha of actual nitrogen and do not appear to be reaching a peak yield with N application at even these high rates.  N fertilizer should not be applied during the seeding year because it encourages weed competition.  Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well drained soils of finer texture are preferable to heavy or light soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit

Good quality rhizomes should be planted when enough soil moisture is available to ensure stand establishment.  Weed control may be needed during the establishment year.  Maximum yields are obtained when adequate moisture is available, up to 900 mm/yr.

Optimal Temperature Range

24-29 °C

Temperature sensitivity

Frost sensitive

Irrigation requirements

Moisture is required during initial stand establishment.  Mature stands are drought tolerant, but produce lower yields under dry conditions.

Days to harvest

Depends on end use. The crop is typically left standing then harvested in the spring to allow for nutrient movement to the roots and soil by translocation and leaching.  Spring harvested miscanthus will be of higher quality for combustion and have approximately 10% moisture.

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Machine harvest; Standard field-crop equipment including sickle mowers, haybines, and round balers.

Quality parameters/grades:

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes


Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Crop can be stored in Ag-bags if not baled.  May need to be ground and densified for the biofuels market.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): Store in a cool/dry environment.

Temperature: N/A

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: Indefinitely

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates:
European corn borer* (Ostrinia nubilalis), grasshoppers (Melanoplus spp.)

Diseases: Stem borers


Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera), caterpillars (Mesapamea secalis, Hepialus humuli)

Diseases: Nematodes

Other: Rabbits

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


Crops grown for biomass can tolerate higher levels of insect and disease damage than those grown for food or ornamental use. There is some concern that biomass crops can serve as a refuge for pests of neighbouring crops. Weed control will likely be necessary during the first one to two years as weeds will compete with establishing plants.  To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: none. This crop is not in a crop group.  For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section. There are few to no pest control products registered on this crop.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile

  1. Engbers, Heather Morgan.  2012.  Evaluation of Nitrogen Fertilization in C4 Grasses Grown for Bioenergy.  M.Sc. Thesis, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON. 
  2. Hilla Kludze, Bill Deen, and Animesh Dutta. 2011.  Report on Literature Review of Agronomic Practices for Energy Crop Production under Ontario Conditions.  University of Guelph. 
  1. Rich Pyter, Tom Voigt, Emily Heaton, Frank Dohleman, and Steve Long.  Growing Giant Miscanthus in Illinois.  A Growers Guide. University of Illinois
  2. Mekete, T. and K. Reynolds.  2011.  Plant-Parasitic Nematodes are potential pathogens of Miscanthus giganteus and Panicum virgatum used for biofuels.  Plant Disease 95: 413-418.
  3. National Non-Food Crops Centre. 2010. NNFCC Crop Factsheet: Miscanthus
  4. Spencer, J.L. and S. Raghu.  2009. Refuge or Reservoir?  The potential impacts of the biofuel crop Miscanthus x giganteus on a major pest of maize.  PLoS ONE 4(12): e8336.