Bukharnik: how to plant and care in open ground

Table of contents:

Bukharnik: how to plant and care in open ground
Bukharnik: how to plant and care in open ground

Characteristics of the bukharnik plant, growing cereals in a personal plot, recommendations for reproduction, difficulties in cultivation and ways to solve them, interesting notes, species and varieties.

Bukharnik (Holcus) belongs to the genus of representatives of the flora that are part of the Poaceae family. The natural area of distribution of this plant is quite extensive and it covers territories starting from European lands and extending to the North African regions and southwestern Asia. Scientists have up to eleven species in the genus, but all three of them can be found on the territory of Russia.

Family name Cereals
Growing period Perennial or annual
Vegetation form Herbaceous
Breeds Senami and dividing the bush
Open ground transplant terms In spring or autumn
Landing rules At a distance of 15-20 cm from each other
Priming Ordinary garden soil, but devoid of lime
Soil acidity values, pH Below 5 (sour) or 6, 5-7 (neutral)
Illumination level Can grow both in the sun and in partial shade
Humidity level Moisture-loving, moderate watering
Special care rules Undemanding
Height options 0.1-0.5 m
Flowering period Since the beginning of June
Type of inflorescences or flowers Inflorescences in the form of spikelets or panicles
Color of flowers Whitish, white-greenish, purple
Fruit type Caryopsis
The timing of fruit ripening In the middle of July
Decorative period Spring-autumn
Application in landscape design To strengthen the slopes, as an ornamental leafy culture
USDA zone 4–9

The plant got its name in Latin from the ancient Greek word "holcos", which translates as "pull" or "pull". This is because there were rumors that bukharnik helps to get rid of (pulls out) splinters from the body. The ancient Roman erudite writer Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD) took advantage of this to give the name to this representative of the flora. Then the already well-known taxonomist of nature Karl Linnaeus (1707-1778) decided to leave this term when he was engaged in the classification of plants. Among the people, you can hear the following nicknames: honey or semolina herb, soft needle or field firefighter. In foreign countries there is the name “Velvet Grass”, which literally means “velvet grass”.

All types of bukharnik have a long-term vegetation cycle or grow as annual crops. Their growth form is grassy. They are mainly sod or rhizomatous. The height of the stems varies in the range of 20-50 cm. Plants have more or less pubescence of their surface or grow naked. Typically, pubescence is present on the lower internodes, with hairs 1 mm long. Internodes are glabrous in the upper part. The stems can grow upright or lie down. The leaf plates are thin in outline and flattened. Their length ranges from 2–20 cm with a width of about 5–10 mm. The foliage has dense pubescence. The deciduous mass has a green color, often with the presence of whitish or white-pinkish edging.

Flowering begins with the arrival of summer days. Bukharnik inflorescences are presented in the form of dense or not very spikelets or panicles. Their length is 3–20 cm with a width of about 1–8 cm. Pedicels reach 0, 2–4 mm in length, they are hairy, the length of the hairs at the same time reaches 0, 7–3 mm. In the lower part of them, bisexual flowers are formed, while the upper one is represented mainly by male flowers. The spikelets have different lengths and look so thin that they resemble paper. Such spikelet scales completely surround the flower scales growing in the lower part.

Spikelets separately, which are part of a complex spike of bukharnik, are very similar to terry spikelets. Their length is 3–6 mm. The flowering scales at the bottom are rounded and covered with veins. From male spikelets, hard awns are clearly distinguishable, since they protrude strongly outward. The tongues, called ligulas, have a filmy structure and are characterized by a fringe. Their size is 1–5 mm, their shape is truncated. The color of the spikelets is whitish, white-greenish, often purple or brownish above the veins. The anthers reach 2–2.5 mm in size.

The fruits look like weevils, like all members of the family. Ripening of seeds in bukharnik begins with the arrival of mid-July. The seeds are quite similar to the seeds of Timothy (Phleum) or Arzhanian. However, they are smaller in size and grow enclosed in compacted films. If we judge about the size, then in 0, 45 kg, there are up to more than a million seeds.

Such plants practically do not require maintenance and organically fit into the landscape design. But since some species contain a glycoside in themselves, you should be careful when caring for them.

Cultivation of bukharnik: planting and care in the open field

Bukharnik on the site
Bukharnik on the site
  1. Landing place "Velvet grass" directly depends on the climatic conditions of the region where it is cultivated. So in cooler climates, planting bukharnik is performed in an open place under the sun, if the region is warm, then the plant will feel great in partial shade. However, at lunchtime, it is better for the bushes to have shading, so a southwest or southeast direction is suitable.
  2. Soil for bukharnik it is recommended to select nutritious, well-drained, with medium friability, you can use ordinary garden soil. It is only important not to use a substrate saturated with lime (plant - calcephobe). The best indicators of acidity will be soils with a pH of 7 and below, that is, neutral or acidic. Only such a species as woolly bukharnik is an indicator of a poor and poorly drained substrate.
  3. Landing "Honey grass" is held in the spring or fall. A seedling hole is dug so that the root system can easily fit into it, but it is not recommended to deepen the plant too much. After the seedling is placed in the hole, soil mixture is poured around, which is slightly squeezed and the substrate is watered abundantly.
  4. Watering carried out only if the bukharnik is planted in a too dry area, then regular and abundant soil moistening is necessary. However, it is worth monitoring the condition of the soil and preventing it from waterlogging.
  5. Winter hardiness "Honey grass" is quite high and the plant does not require shelter during the cold season.
  6. The use of bukharnik in landscape design. Due to its variegated leaf plates and small size, such bushes can form borders for borders. However, it is important to limit the growth of the "firefighter" bushes. The Albovariegata species, due to its whitish variegated leaves, is often used as a ground cover. Since the root system has sufficient ramification, crumbling slopes can be fixed with such plantings. Some of these species are recommended for planting in highly humid areas, as well as in coastal areas of water bodies.

See also tips for planting and caring for Heuchera outdoors.

Recommendations for breeding bukharnik

Bukharnik in the ground
Bukharnik in the ground

In order to grow new bushes of "velvet grass" on your site, you need to sow seeds or divide an overgrown plant.

  1. Reproduction of bozarnik using seeds. Since in the period of June-July and until September, the "honey grass" is ripening caryopsis, you can start collecting seed. Sowing of seeds is carried out in the same period immediately to a permanent place of cultivation. Some of the bukharnik species are sterile and will not be able to form viable seeds, therefore, only vegetative reproduction takes place for them.
  2. Reproduction of bukharnik by division. In rhizomes (rhizomes), the build-up occurs from late spring to November, and the highest rate falls on the period from mid-June to the end of the second decade of July. A large number of dormant dormant buds are present on the rhizome, the growth of which will begin only if the rhizome is injured. The best time to divide the bush is autumn. At this time, with the help of a shovel, the roots of the bukharnik are cut off and removed from the soil with a garden pitchfork, having previously dug a cut around the perimeter. The transplant should be carried out immediately to a previously prepared place. Since the rhizome is broken, the buds awaken, and the rooting process will be quite fast. It is important that when caring for plantings of "velvet grass", the soil should be kept moist until rooting.

See also tips for breeding gentian.

Difficulties in cultivating bukharnik and ways to solve them

Bukharnik by the reservoir
Bukharnik by the reservoir

The biggest problem with growing honey grass is that the young leaves are attacked by slugs and snails. Such gastropod pests can easily destroy the plantings of bukharnik and other garden plantings. To get rid of such "uninvited guests", it is recommended to use the following methods:


  • Collect slugs and snails by hand when the rain ends, as they crawl out of their hiding places. In this case, it is important not just to remove pests from the site (for example, by throwing them over the fence), but to destroy them.
  • Applying table salt by sprinkling it on the gastropods. It has been noticed that a small pinch of this substance, caught on the sole (leg) of these mollusks, leads to their death.
  • Mowing grass growing near flower plantations and directly next to bukharnik, in order to prevent the creation of a special humid microclimate, which slugs and snails love so much.


You should not feed the captured gastropods to pets, as this threatens to become infected with parasites. However, for poultry (eg chickens), they will be good food.


  • Formation of barriers which will not allow slugs and snails to crawl to the planting of bukharnik and other plantings of the garden. The material for creating fences will be fine gravel, crushed shell rock, crushed eggshell and other materials characterized by a porous structure.
  • Applications of baits, which will serve to collect shellfish. So, for example, containers are used that are dropped in the soil to the very neck and beer or juice with a sweet taste is poured into them. You can lay piles of freshly cut grass, under which slugs and snails will crawl. It is important to periodically clean the bait from the gastropods that have accumulated there.


  • The use of metaldegnides, like Thunderstorm or Meta, represented by blue granules that attract mollusks, but after eating it, they quickly die. However, the product is moderately toxic to pets. Such a product is poured next to the plantings of bukharnik at the rate of 5 m2 in a thin layer, 15 grams are used for this. It is important that after precipitation, the effect of the drug is greatly reduced.
  • Slaked lime, which can be sprayed to kill snails in the selected area with honey grass plantings.


Copper-plated ribbons, headbands, or covering material (for example, made by the Shocka brand). Such funds can be bought in specialized shopping centers and laid out along the perimeter of flower beds and next to the bukharnik. Usually, in contact with copper, slugs and snails experience a mild electric shock, and the pests no longer try to climb over the copper fence.


The methods are applied from spring to autumn, and are represented by the parasitic nematode Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodit (under the brand name Nemaslug). Such microorganisms are diluted in water and watering the plantings of bukharnik and other flowers. In a week, slugs and snails will be successfully destroyed and this effect will last for 1, 5 months. However, the shelf life of such a product is short - only no more than a month from the date of production and the requirements to withstand the drug in cold conditions.


… To do this, it is recommended to plant such representatives of the flora next to the bukharnik bushes, which, with their aroma, will scare away slugs and snails. They are garlic and lavender, sage and rosemary, laurel and thyme, and many others. You can also use infusions based on garlic gruel, mustard and hot pepper, sprinkling them over the area.

Read also about diseases and pests that occur when growing hedgehogs in the garden

Interesting notes about bukharnik

Bukharnik grows
Bukharnik grows

If we talk about this type of "honey grass" as woolly (Holcus lanatus), then it is an aggressively spreading plant in natural conditions (invasive), especially in pastures and contributing to the destruction of other ecosystems. This is because in places where this representative of the flora grows, rather dense clusters are formed that impede the growth of other plants. In addition, woolly bukharnik can not only reduce the number of local cereal plantations, but also fully contribute to their elimination.

But at the same time "velvet grass" gives a large amount of green mass, but if the cattle eat it, it can harm it because of its pubescent parts. Also in the plant there is a glycoside, the destruction of which occurs with the release of toxic substances. Usually only horses eat bukharnik, while animals choose only young stems and foliage, devoid of pubescence. A species such as soft (Holcus mollis) has less hairiness and creeping roots, which are so loved by pigs because of their mealy consistency. Animals pull them out and eat them.

Types and varieties of bukharnik

In the photo Bukharnik is soft
In the photo Bukharnik is soft

Bukharnik soft (Holcus mollis)

can also occur under the name Notholcus mollis … This species has been naturalized in European countries and the North American continent. The growth of the rhizome continues from May to November, but the greatest intensity of this process occurs in the middle of summer. There are multiple dormant buds along the entire surface of the rhizome, which will remain in this state until the root is injured. Any damage leads to the fact that the buds become a source of formation of young shoots growing above the soil surface.

The stems of soft bukharnik have a brownish-red tint in the root zone. Usually on stems devoid of leaves there is a slight pubescence, but at the same time 4–7 nodes are quite pubescent. On the reverse side (back), the stem is surrounded by leafy sheaths, the surface of which is bare or slightly pubescent. Ligules (ligules) have a blunt apex, a serrated edge, they themselves are membranous. They reach 1.5 mm in length. The leaf plate has a pointed apex, the surface is also bare or there is a slight pubescence on it. The color of the leaves is grayish green. The length of the leaf is 20 cm with a width of about 1.5 cm. The deciduous mass of soft bukharnik can grow, depending on climatic conditions, as evergreen or semi-evergreen.

Spikelets-inflorescences are formed in the middle of the summer period, but their decorative effect is very small. The plant spreads and forms significant clumps due to the root system, which forms stolons, going down to 5 centimeters deep, and sometimes even lower. The duration of the growing season is 3–10 years.

There are two types of soft bukharnik:

  • Holcus mollis L. subsp. mollis - at the base, the stems are not thickened, the color of the panicle inflorescences is purple or brown.
  • Holcus mollis subsp. reuteri (Boiss). Malag also has stems with thickenings at the base, the color of the panicles is whitish.

For decorative purposes, it is customary to use only the soft bukharnik variety in the open field. Albovariegata, characterized by a height of about 20-30 cm, while the curtain reaches 45 cm in diameter. The color of the leaves is green with a white-pinkish edging. But by the middle of summer, this decoration acquires brownish tones. Lodging is possible under the influence of rain. This variety does not differ in such aggressiveness in distribution than the wild-growing natural form. Differs in frost resistance

In the photo Woolly Bukharnik
In the photo Woolly Bukharnik

Woolly Bukhark (Holcus lanatus)

The specific name "lanatus", which translates as "woolly", directly indicates that parts of this species have great pubescence. In nature, growth occurs in Europe and the temperate Asian regions, as well as the lands of the North African regions. The species was introduced to the North American continent and other parts of the planet with moderate climatic conditions. Often considered an invasive species, although in Europe it grows on pastures.

Woolly Bukharnik is a herbaceous perennial plant with grayish-green foliage and velvety pubescence. It is distinguished from the previous species by the absence of rhizomes and straw nodes devoid of pubescence. The divergence of the shoots occurs in a circular manner. Shoots grow creeping, through them a dense curtain is formed. At the base, the color of such offspring is whitish-pinkish, there is decoration in the form of stripes and veins, which is a special feature when identifying the species. Ligulae or ligules reach a length of 1–4 mm, their apex is obtuse, with pubescence.

The inflorescence of woolly bukharnik is a strong spikelet or panicle. Their color most often has a light crimson tint. The awns of the flower scales are hook-shaped and do not go beyond the scales of the spikelet. Quite a lot of seeds are formed in this species, which contributes to the rapid spread over the surrounding area.

When growing in nature, woolly bukharnik prefers moist soil and can be found in coastal areas of sewage ditches. It can multiply by shoots or by dividing the root system into parts at the nodes.

Bristly Bukharnik (Holcus setosus)

has a one-year life cycle. The stems can reach a height of 35 cm. Both the surface of the leaf plates and their sheaths are covered with pubescence of small hairs. Dense inflorescences with a multi-spike structure are collected from the spikelets. The shape of the inflorescence is ovate-oblong, the color is pale green. The awn of staminate flowers is rather long in length than the spikelet scales; they take on sinuous outlines.

Related article: Rules for planting and caring for fescue in open field conditions

Video about growing bukharnik in open field conditions:

Photos of bukharnik:

Bukharnik Photos 1
Bukharnik Photos 1
Photo Bukharnika 2
Photo Bukharnika 2
Photo Bukharnika 3
Photo Bukharnika 3
Bukharnika Photos 4
Bukharnika Photos 4
Bukharnika Photos 5
Bukharnika Photos 5